Facebook scam affecting several Tennessee Valley residents

WAFF 48's Matthew King reporting
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 10:46 PM CDT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - For Jennifer Adams, a scammer’s quick takeover of her Facebook profile was all it took for several people in the Tennessee Valley to get scammed out of their money.

“It’s so frustrating to not be able to do anything about it,” Adams said.

Adams said she wasn’t able to change her Facebook account information before a hacker got control of her account, then posted items for sale on Facebook Marketplace. None of the items were ever delivered. The hacker posted on her page, saying she was “moving out of town”, and selling her household items at a great price.

“The hacker, pretending to be me, is saying that they’re out of town, but if they want to leave a deposit, I can hold this item for you,” she said.

The sales were never real. People showed up to Adam’s house, and all they got was bad news. That’s when they found out they were scammed.

“I feel awful for the people that’s sending this person money, then showing up at my door to buy a vanity,” she said. “I just tell them that I’m sorry and have nothing to do with the account.”

Despite several complaints to Facebook to suspend the account, Adams said the profile is still up.

“There’s not a phone number you can call, there’s no one you can talk to, you’re just helpless,” she said.

Cyber security expert with Auburn University Marcus Sachs said this exact situation happens more often than you’d think. He said the delay in account suspensions is caused by artificial intelligence reading through their guidelines.

“When you’re reporting an account, the first thing to read your report is not a human, it’s a machine,” he said. “Eventually, you’ll cross the threshold where a human will get involved. That’s when action tends to take place. You just have to be patient. It is unfortunate, but it takes awhile. If you’re persistent, Facebook will eventually fix it.”

Sachs recommends two factor authentication and limiting your profile’s access as the top ways to protect yourself online.

WAFF 48 reached out to Facebook’s parent company, Meta, but did not hear back.

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