Thursday, January 28, 2010

Getting hacked on Facebook

I spent the morning in Stay At Home Mom world. Bubba was at preschool and I was home with Little Man, then we headed back to school to help out another mom get fundraising packets set up. Home for lunch. Not a very exciting morning. 

Just after lunch my phone rang - my friend, Korina... "Hey Amanda, I thought you'd want to know that it looks like your Facebook got hacked. Unless you were just robbed in London, of course."

I had seen "spam" posted on pages through hacked facebook accounts. You know, where a friend posts on your wall something like "Check out my new website! ___________" and then it's a link for an obviously fraudulent site? And then the person gets embarassed a few hours later when they discover it and apologize profusely and I laugh a little to myself.

So I logged on to Facebook and, as I did, my phone rings again. My dad, calling from work on the other side of the country. Frantic, because my uncle just received an instant message from me on Facebook saying that Eric and I had been robbed, I'd been hit over the head, Eric's ankle was broken and... we need money right now. I assured him everything was ok and apologized that he was worried, and he didn't seem to believe that I am actually fine. Dad, I am fine!

Stranger than strange, I logged on to my Facebook page (and was, frankly, surprised that when someone hacks into your account they don't change your password so that it takes longer to correct things) and saw open instant message windows of some of my friends chatting with "me". And, there it was! I watched as "I" recounted the story of my mugging and how I became stranded and... how I need money right now... to two different facebook "friends" I haven't talked to in "real life" in about 10 years. 

I immediately set to work changing my password and security info and, in the meantime, tried to post a status update warning people to steer clear of "me" for awhile. That status update, along with my most recent real statue update - about considering going to Haiti this summer to help with rebuilding - were immediately erased. Almost as fast as it posted, it was gone.

Password changed, security info changed, the next attempt to post a status warning stuck. So hopefully now no one else is being contacted by "me" asking for money.  And hopefully no one actually sent the fake me money. Unfortunately for the hacker, I don't actually know many people with money to send people in an emergency! Lutheran school teachers, stay at home moms, missionaries and assorted social services workers are not exactly prime targets for money scams.

I'm not in the process of trying to figure out what other damage has been done to my facebook account. So far I know:

* At least 4 people were contacted via IM and told a story about me being mugged/robbed in London, Eric and I being injured, and needing money to get back "home"
* The 2 people who I know caught on to the scam were "unfriended" by "me" and I can no longer find them via a friend search to re-add them as friends. I don't know how many friends I had before, so I don't know if other people were "unfriended" or not.
* The link to this wonderful blog was erased from my profile page. Hackers? Are you reading this? Do you have something against my blog?
* My "thinking about Haitian missions" and "my house is full of crazy" status updates from the last couple of days are gone. Thank goodness they left "Sleep Talkin' Man"!

Anyway, that's all for now. As my dad said on the phone, "The strangest things seem to happen to you!" Definitely true. And, as always, it could have been much worse.

Edited to add: In case anyone else has this happen to them, I found my two unfriended friends on my "blocked user" list. After "unblocking" them, I had to re-request their friendship, but otherwise that was pretty easy to resolve.


  1. You're not the first. My FIL had an email from a friend whose account got hacked. Then another friend of mine IM'd me with the same story. Luckily I'd already heard about the scam from FIL so I knew right away it wasn't true. They're using the same, "Stranded in London, no phone, no cash, no credit cards, send money" story with everyone.