About four weeks ago, I received one of those dreaded text messages from the bank that said…….. Westpac Alert: Card ending in **** has been temporally blocked due to an attempted transaction at FACEBOOK for $2696.16 at 23:21. If you recognise the transaction, reply YES to have your card unblocked. Otherwise, reply NO to have a Westpac agent contact you.
My hear sunk as I logged into my business account to find 5 transactions from Facebook all with similar amounts.
I immediately blocked the card and waited for The Fraud Team to call me. The rest of the day was a blur, I couldn’t concentrate, or work and I felt sick in the stomach. I honestly never thought something like that could happen to me!!!!!
That day I realised how vulnerable we all are in life and in business.
The days that followed were spent on hold for hours to the bank, numerous message to Facebook, because god forbid you get to speak to a real person there! The bank gave me the run around, pushing me between business and fraud, each blaming each other and I was not even getting a reply from Facebook.
What I soon came to realise was that someone had hacked into my ads account and set themselves up as an admin and was running ads to their product (not sure if it was real or not) from my credit card. They had put an ads budget in of $200k, the bank stopped them at $10K.
Three weeks later after many calls, emails and follow up, a friend suggested I get verified on Instagram and that may help get an answer or be able to talk to a real person at Facebook. I was seriously panicking and getting stressed that I wasn’t getting any answers.
I was reluctant to give over my new credit card details to Facebook as I apparently till owed them $US1500.
I decided to pay for the verification, I finally got to speak to a real person who told me to be patient as they were looking into it for me. By the end of week three my patience and sanity were running very thin. I was beginning to believe I was never going to see that money again.
Here’s what happened next, soon after being verified, I felt a real shift with the urgency with Facebook, they started taking me serious and I felt like they really wanted to resolve the issue. The Bank did absolutely nothing (mainly because I had dealing with Facebook before, so they weren’t a foreign account!) Most people were telling me not to worry as the bank almost always gives you your money back after a fraud case. I just knew that was not going to happen in this situation.
The next day I got an email from Facebook telling me they had confirmed I had been hacked and they had decided to refund me in total and erase any money owing – THE RELEIF!! The money went back into my account almost immediately and I celebrated hard with my community!!! I think I even went live in the Facebook group in my PJ’s!!!!!!
Here’s what you can do to ensure this doesn’t happen to you or your business:
- Put 2FA onto your Facebook account. Actually on all accounts.
- If you are a business and using ads in Instagram and Facebook – pay to be verified (the blue tick) – I am sure this is what saved me – thank you Gulinka.
- Share your experiences with business friends and share in Facebook Groups. I had another friend tell me to reach out to others in business to see what they did in similar situations – this also helped me keep my sanity. Thank you Kath.
- Don’t give anyone access to your accounts or passwords.
- Don’t think you are smarter than the hackers – they are at least 2 steps in front of us all!
- Don’t give up keep fighting for what is rightly yours.
- Patience is a virtue – I learnt what patience was in those three weeks – this was something that was so out of my control. I also took it as an opportunity to see what the universe was trying to teach me about myself – patience maybe and not always being in control – who knows!
By sharing this today I hope this helps you to be aware of what’s out there – please implement the above steps – it could save you a lot of sleepless nights.