(WTTV/WXIN) — If you’ve ever been locked out of a social social media account, you know how frustrating it is.
Hackers and scammers are getting better all the time at disrupting our lives on social media for their own gain. The sudden frustration of losing access to your account for one reason or another is something the crooks are counting on.
According to the Better Business Bureau, scam artists often rely on victims’ emotions to lead to impulsive reactions before thinking them through.
The BBB has recently received several reports of a scam that looks like this:
You’ve been locked out of your Facebook, Instagram or X account and while searching for a solution, you see an ad for a company that says it can help you recover your account for a fee.
If you feel frustrated and helpless enough, you might just agree to it. However, what you don’t realize is that the company offering to help you is the same hacker who locked your account.
One victim told the BBB the scammer said they could recover their Instagram account for $100. The victim paid and the scammer said they performed the service, but they would need another $130 to buy software to “complete the task.”
Then the hacker said the account couldn’t be recovered, but they could delete it for another $50.
Obviously, that was going nowhere as the phony fees kept adding up.
In similar scams, the crook will claim someone is using your compromised account to make purchases and they need your bank account and CashApp information to fix it.
To avoid such scams, the BBB suggests the following:
- 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.
If you spot a social media scam, you can report it to the BBB Scam Tracker.