The founder of a Chorley-based female networking group is warning people to be careful on Facebook, after hackers posted “horrible” illegal images on her account, and stole over £2000.
Suzy Orr, who set up Unique Ladies in 2015, says her personal facebook account was randomly hacked last Sunday (June 5), leading to a week of nightmares.
Suzy, who also runs Windoworld in Magull with her husband, said: “I was quite happily sitting at home watching TV and my husband said to me ‘have you just posted something on Facebook’ as he’s holding up his phone to me. I gasped and said that looks like porn, and he said it’s worse than that so I panicked at that point and said report it.
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"I pick my phone up and I’ve got about 40 notifications saying I’d breached their guidelines, so hackers had gone onto my account, I don't know how because I’ve got two factor security in place, and I didn't ever get a ping to say someone's trying to log in from such and such an address, but they seemed to have got straight on on my personal account, and the images that they uploaded included child pornography, and a live beheading, so really distressing awful things.”
Suzy was not aware of the image contents at the time, as when she attempted to get help from Facebook, she found she had been thrown out of her account, which she has only regained access to on Monday, after the Post contacted Meta.
It was only on Monday morning, when a colleague informed her of what the images were, and that they had been up for 10 minutes, that Suzy reported the incident to the police.
But on top of the “horrible” images, later that day, Suzy learnt that hackers had also been able to steal money from her connected business page, Unique Ladies, as she first got a PayPal notification saying that Facebook had taken £200 out of her account, despite being locked out of it.
Realising it was connected to the hacking, Suzy said: “When you’re traumatised you don't really think straight, and I'd forgotten that when I first set up my Facebook business account, you have to put in a means of payment in case you do advertising, so I had put my PayPal details in, but then, about three years ago, I opened a business account and I put my account Debit Card in too, and so on Tuesday, when I went to look at my business account, I saw a whole string of payments to Facebook, totaling £2100 pounds.”
After seeing this, Suzy contacted her bank, Starling Bank “straightaway”, who locked her account, and although the money was recovered a week later, she remains unsatisfied with the bank’s response when she asked why it was allowed to go out in the first place.
Suzy, who has reported the incident to Action Fraud, explained: “They said because I had previously approved a payment to Facebook, that they automatically will just pay the payments, even though, over the past three years I've only ever paid Facebook three times and each time it was £20, and yet within 24 hours they took £2100, so I went back to Starling and said you need to tell me why you've not got anything in place that sets an alarm bell ringing when this happens. I've not had a response.”
During her correspondence with Starling Bank and the Police, Suzy says she had been copying in “legal at Facebook, help at Facebook, support at Facebook, you name it” but had received “absolutely no acknowledgement from Facebook at all”, up until the Post reached out to Meta ourselves this week.
Speaking before the Post helped her regain access, Suzy added: “Facebook will have known, from whatever algorithm they use, that my IP address is generally around Chorley area… but I've just been completely removed without question, so I feel like I'm being punished for something I’ve had no control over, because I had all the proper security in place that they tell you to have.
"This is traumatic, and these big companies, the Facebook's of the world, the Starling Banks and the PayPals should have things in place to protect us from stuff like that, and they clearly haven’t because although they locked my Facebook account down…they’ve allowed hackers to go in after they've done that, to take all that money out of my account.
Offering a final piece of advice, Suzy said: “Facebook have been faceless in this and they can't be. Imagine how many people are on Facebook, and how many have set up an account for advertising, and there'll be a lot of small business, but they are not protecting you. So if anybody has any cards or PayPal accounts, linked to Facebook, secure them or put a limit on it so that it can't happen again.
“If I can save one person the that hassle of what I’ve had this week then it’s really worth doing.
“I would not wish this on my worst enemy."
Facebook has now recovered Suzy’s account, following the Post’s intervening, although Suzy adds: “I’m still not sure I’d be comfortable going back to using it…it's made me have a real re-think about what I do in the future and how I do business.”
Facebook are yet to respond to any other comments.