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Woman shares tips after hackers take over Facebook business page, locking her out

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 2:48 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Michelle Hackman’s personal Facebook page was hacked earlier this month. That was unsettling enough, but it became a more serious issue after the hackers took over her family business page, locking her out so she couldn’t communicate with her own customers.

Facebook is notoriously difficult to reach if you run into a problem with your account. There is no customer service phone number available for you to call someone. Hackman tried to reach out to Facebook online for help, but was not having any luck getting her problem resolved. WECT reached out to Facebook’s press office on Hackman’s behalf, but never got a response.

They got a break when someone watching our story last week knew someone who worked at Facebook, and offered to connect the Hackmans so they could take back control over their social media page again. The Hackmans were grateful for the help. Now that they have regained access to their accounts, they wanted to share what they learned in case this ever happens to you.

First and foremost, backup your information from your Facebook page. If you lose access to your account, you may not be able to get back in. The Hackmans learned the hard way they didn’t have a complete list of all their followers’ contact information until after the hack that locked them out of their account. Michelle also lost 12 years of pictures and videos documenting her daughters’ childhood posted on her personal Facebook page that she was afraid might be lost forever.

“The thing that I have taken away most from this, and maybe I should have already, and I was naïve... is to really just back up your information, your pictures, change your password, and maybe even your email address from time to time. I was not very good at doing that and I’ve taken the extra security measures now. There are hackers all over the world. We believe the hackers on our account were not in the United States and you’re vulnerable,” Hackman said.

Part of Hackman’s issue was that the hackers engaged in illegal activity after taking over her accounts, so Facebook had initially said she was permanently banned from their social media platforms, including Instagram. When she tried to appeal that decision, or set up a new account, her phone number and email address still flagged in the Facebook system as suspicious.

Hackman advises setting up a new email address to work through the appeal process. If you are using the same email address that’s connected to a blocked account, you may not get very far. You can also ask a friend or family member to use their account to report to Facebook that your account has been hacked.

Hackman also suggests having multiple administrators on a Facebook business page, so that if one administrator gets hacked and locked out of Facebook, another administrator can still access the business account.

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