What I Learned from My Facebook Getting Stolen: Security Tips and My Plan Moving Forward

In today’s world, our online presence is more than just a reflection of ourselves; it’s a vital tool for personal and professional communication.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017
What I Learned from My Facebook Getting Stolen: Security Tips and My Plan Moving Forward

In today’s world, our online presence is more than just a reflection of ourselves; it’s a vital tool for personal and professional communication. Think about it… almost everyone you know has some sort of social media account these days. Recently, I experienced firsthand the disruption and stress that comes with having my Facebook account stolen.

A few weeks ago at around 10:30 pm on a Friday night, I had an alert that someone was trying to reset my password on Facebook. I quickly logged in changed my password and set up the 2FA Factor (even had a code sent to my cell phone to verify). Although I acted instantly it was still too late, someone had taken over my account, changed the e-mail address, and kicked me out. I tried everything to get back in and had zero luck. The next morning I started getting calls & text messages from family and friends trying to buy all these things “I” was selling on Facebook and some asking if my account got hacked or if it was really me. The hacker had posted on my account and was trying to collect deposits for non-existent items and unfortunately, he did get money out of a couple different people (side note: When purchasing things online, even from someone you think you know, don’t send money without actually talking to the person on the phone and/or if the names on the payee account do not match the person selling). He was also actually talking to people back and forth through Messenger and answering their questions and giving out our personal home address.

Beyond the initial shock, it became a valuable learning experience, which forced me to rethink not only my online security practices but to also figure out alternative avenues for promoting my business outside of social media. Here’s what I learned and how hopefully you can benefit or learn something from my experience (aka nightmare).

Strengthening Online Security

1. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password. This simple step can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access. They have gotten even more advanced and you can set up your password within your phone so a new code generates every time you log in.

2. Use Strong, Unique Passwords:

Avoid using easily guessable passwords or reusing them across multiple accounts. Mine were pretty unique (or so I thought) but the cop I spoke to when I filed my police report said they can figure them out quickly. So not only would I create unique passwords I would suggest changing them often.

3. Regularly Monitor Account Activity:

Keep an eye on your account for any unusual activity. Most platforms, including Facebook, offer options to review recent logins and active sessions. If you spot something suspicious, act quick and change your password or check if anyone has added extra email addresses to your account.

4. Be Cautious of Phishing Attempts:

Do NOT click on suspicious links or download attachments from unknown sources, as these could be phishing attempts aimed at stealing your login credentials. I’d say this would be obvious but I believe a lot of my friends and family would have clicked something if it came from my account since the hacker was actually conversing with people & giving out my home address.

5. Report and Recover Quickly:

Familiarize yourself with the account recovery processes of the platforms you use (spoiler alert Facebook is NOT an easy process). Facebook was IMPOSSIBLE to deal with when it came to trying to get my account back. I e-mailed, called, my friends and family reported my account… all the things they tell you to do and nothing worked. It’s a miracle and pure luck I was able to get back in at all a few weeks later. One of my best friends got hacked a few years ago and while thankfully they never did anything with her account it took her almost 8 months to get it back!

Alternate Business Promotion Ideas/Plan

While social media platforms like Facebook offer easy reach and engagement that is unmatched, relying solely on them for business promotion can be risky, as my experience has proven true. Here are some alternative strategies to consider when coming up with a marketing plan:

1. Build a Professional Website:

A dedicated website not only enhances your credibility but also provides a central hub where potential customers can find detailed information about your products or services. Personally, I plan to update my website more frequently and blog more to keep up with my SEO and add more value to my website.

2. Invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Optimizing your website for search engines can help attract organic traffic. Focus on creating valuable/unique content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience.

3. Explore Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to communicate directly with your audience. Offer incentives such as exclusive discounts or useful content to encourage sign-ups. I have been bad about e-mail marketing but I plan to focus on this a lot more!

4. Engage in Networking and Partnerships:

Establishing relationships with other businesses or influencers in your industry can expand your reach through collaborative efforts and referrals. Ex: Are you a wedding photographer? Team up with Wedding Planners in your area and develop a professional relationship so you can refer each other.

5. Attend Trade Shows or Local Events:

Participating in offline events provides opportunities for face-to-face interactions with potential customers and strengthens your brand presence in the community. This is great whether you offer products, services or both! You can really hone in on your niche market and find shows/events that you think your ideal customers would be at. Ex: Going to use the wedding industry again… You wouldn’t buy a booth at the Hunting & Fishing Expo if you are a wedding photographer but you would get one at the Wedding Expo!

A Little Recap…

While losing control of my Facebook account was a nightmare personally and a marketing setback professionally, it forced me to reassess my marketing plan and strengthen my overall online security measures (not just social media). Moreover, it pushed me to diversify my business promotion strategies beyond social media, which I know will prove to be both rewarding and resilient.

If you take anything away from this post I hope it’s to secure all your online accounts (not just social media), do NOT send money to people online unless you are buying from a legit website or have talked to the seller personally outside of social media, and if you own a business incorporate a plan for marketing outside social media as well.

I decided that I will actually be taking a break from Facebook altogether, both personally and professionally, and will be focusing my marketing efforts on other platforms and the above ideas mentioned! Stay tuned for fun and exciting things coming out soon as well as much more blog posts!