BBB issues scam alert

Is there anything more frustrating than not being able to access your social media accounts?

Scammers are betting there isn’t. Lately, BBB Scam Tracker has seen multiple reports of a scam in which con artists trick people out of their money by promising they can recover social media accounts.

How the scam works
You’ve been locked out of your social media account and can’t seem to get back in. While searching for a solution, you come across a company that claims they can help you recover your account, for a fee.

Feeling that you’ve exhausted all your options, you decide to give them a try. However, as time goes by, fees begin to mount, and your account still hasn’t been recovered. In addition, the company may start asking for very personal information.

One consumer reported this experience to BBB Scam Tracker after a company contacted them through Facebook Messenger.

“They said they could recover my Instagram account for me for $100. I paid them and they said they performed the service but would need another $130 to purchase software to ‘complete the task.’ I paid. They claimed the account couldn’t be recovered but they could delete it for me, for another $50, this time to purchase ‘deletion software.’ It was not deleted.”

Another victim was told someone was making purchases through their compromised Facebook account. To fix the problem, they would need to verify their bank account and CashApp information. The con artist was able to access the person’s accounts and steal much-needed funds.

In some cases, scammers are looking to steal your identity. One consumer reported having been asked to verify their identity using the Internal Revenue Service website, IRS.gov. Subsequently, a tax return was fraudulently filed in their name. (How to avoid tax ID theft).

Whatever the scheme, scammers want people to think they are a reputable third-party company that deals in recovering social media accounts. In the end, consumers find they’ve been handed empty promises in exchange for their hard-earned money.

How to avoid social media account recovery scams
Never pay someone to recover your social media account
Every social media site has its own account recovery process. Some are more complex than others, but account recovery is always free. Recovering your account is not a service you should pay for. See BBB’s tips to restore your account.

Visit the official social media help page
Instead of doing research on third-party sites, go straight to the source. Follow the official account recovery process and contact the platform directly if you have any issues. You can find a list of each social media platform’s account recovery links at FTC.gov.

Guard your personal information
Never share your login ID, password, banking information, social security number or other sensitive information with a stranger.

For more information
If you think your social media account has been hacked, read What to do if your business’s social media account gets hacked. Many of the tips can apply to personal accounts as well.

Stay alert to similar scams by visiting the BBB Social media scams page. If you spot a social media scam, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker.

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