PLAINFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A Plainfield woman relying on Facebook to run her business says her account has been hijacked by hackers.
She can’t get the account back, and now her customers are being asked to hand over money.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Tuesday night, it all started with a phishing scam.
“I’ve been crafting my whole life from as far as I can remember, but my business since 2019,” said Liv DeLeon.
DeLeon runs Crafty Girl Creations from her home in Plainfield.
“This is the busiest time of year for me,” DeLeon said.
But DeLeon can’t communicate with her customers, because her Facebook account has been taken over by hackers, She runs her business through the social media platform.
“If people don’t realize that it’s not me, it’s ruining my reputation,” DeLeon said.
DeLeon says she believes the hackers gained access through a seemingly real email that asked her to click a link and verify some of her personal information.
“I think it may have been the link. That’s the only thing I can correlate it to,” DeLeon said. “It looked legit. I didn’t question anything.”
But DeLeon was soon locked out of her personal account – and with a big holiday crafts show coming up in downtown Plainfield, she says Facebook accounts started impersonating the organizers of the show and aggressively asking her clients for money. At least one customer paid the scammers.
“I felt terrible, because I have no way of letting anybody know on my Facebook page that this is happening,” DeLeon said, “because I have zero access to my Facebook.”
Paul Bischoff is the editor Comparitech.com and a consumer privacy advocate.
“It sounds like she handed over her Facebook password at some point, so that’s most likely through a phishing scheme where she clicked on a link,” Bischoff said.
Bischoff urges people to be skeptical before clinking links, and encourages multi-factor authentication.
“Usually in 90 percent of cases, I’d say – or more – it’s not someone breaking through Facebook’s defenses,” Bischoff said, “it’s someone handing over their password inadvertently.”
And DeLeon’s attempts to contact Facebook to resolve the problem have gone nowhere.
“I’ve basically given up,” she said.
DeLeon said she feels helpless.
We also reached out to Facebook, but have not heard back.