A Sydney woman was about to go to bed when she noticed something strange on Facebook – 18 months later, her career is over.
A New South Wales woman has been in an ‘absolute nightmare’ in the past 18 months after hackers hijack her small business’s social media accounts.
She was unable to regain control of her accounts during this period.
Vanessa Graydon, 52, of the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, has relied entirely on social media to score gigs for her restaurant business.
She was alarmed in July 2020 when, 15 minutes before midnight, she discovered that she had been blocked on her Facebook account.
A hacker had entered his system and attempted to access his bank account details.
Then the hacker changed his profile picture to an ISIS flag which violated Facebook standards and resulted in the account being automatically deactivated.
“I haven’t worked in the restaurant business since,” Ms. Graydon told news.com.au.
“It’s amazing how much the world revolves around social media. It’s pretty amazing what impact this really has [on my business]. “
Her repeated attempts to try to have Facebook reestablished the account failed and she ended up giving up her additional income stream. The former cafe owner now works in an entirely different industry that doesn’t use any of her hospitality know-how.
Ms Graydon’s business pages had fallen prey to “ISIS hacking,” a common tactic used by Facebook hackers to save them time while emptying the victim’s bank account.
Essentially, the hackers were targeting people like Ms. Graydon, who had a personal Facebook page linked to a business account.
Hackers took over her account and changed her profile picture to an ISIS flag, triggering an automatic shutdown.
The idea was for the hacker to lock it out of his account while he maxed out the credit card attached to his business page.
They would use this information to buy Facebook ads that would go back to their own pocket.
Luckily for Ms Graydon, she hadn’t linked her bank account to her social media, so she didn’t directly touch her finances.
But the loss of her professional account devastated her.
It was a practical side activity that brought in tens of thousands of additional dollars for her and her family.
In the past 18 months, she has only received one request for a catered concert, via a phone call, not via social media.
“I lost tens of thousands [of dollars], easily. Most concerts were suitable for functions, usually for people who were hosting an event at home, for a minimum of $ 1,000 per concert, ”she explained.
To this day, she has “no idea” how she was hacked.
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Perhaps even more frustrating for Ms. Graydon is her inability to go anywhere with Facebook.
“I’ve tried so many times it’s not funny,” said the distraught business owner.
Desperate to get her restaurant service back, the woman filed a report with Facebook explaining how her account was hacked. She has “never been contacted” by the social media giant.
“I even tried to save the report through my husband’s Facebook account,” she added.
“I think Facebook is appalling, in my opinion it violates their service code,” she said.
“When you sign up on Facebook, you basically have a contract with them. There should be much better support. I did nothing wrong [but] I was punished.
News.com.au reported the issue to Facebook and a spokesperson confirmed that an investigation was underway.
Ms Graydon is not even able to start a new social media presence for her business as she was banned from the platform after the photo from ISIS was posted.
“I even tried to create new accounts, there [Facebook] don’t leave me, he recognizes me, ”she explained.
She even tried with different computers to change the IP address but had no luck.