On Facebook, you have your (personal) Profile, Facebook (business) Page, Facebook Group, and can have your own Facebook Ads Account as well. To manage a Facebook Page, Group or Ads Account all require you to have a Facebook Profile, and the only way to sign in or out of Facebook is through your Profile. These reasons are all why keeping your Facebook Profile as secure as possible is of the utmost importance.
I was recently made aware of this unfortunate and frustrating situation involving Kara Kamienski and her photography business. A couple college friends of mine are friends of hers, and they tagged me in this post where she shares how her Facebook Profile was hacked, her email changed, her Trusted Contacts changed, and how it’s basically impossible to get the help she needs from Facebook.
This is one of the (many) big frustrations I have with Facebook; it’s a behemoth already trying to dominate the online world yet it gets a big fat F in the customer support category.
It’s become pretty common for me to receive a Friend request from someone I’m already Facebook Friends with and report that imposter Profile. When I see it, I immediately visit the imposter Profile, click on the button with the 3 dots (located in the bottom right corner of the cover photo if on desktop and just beneath the cover photo, on the right side, on mobile), and choose “report”. You walk through the steps to say that this profile is impersonating you or someone you know, then choose “someone you know” and enter the name of the Facebook Friend this person is copycat-ing. It is then submitted to Facebook to review and if caught early enough (and – hopefully – if enough people report it) it’s quickly removed.
In Kara’s case, time was not on her side, and by the time she knew the hackers had taken over her account, they had already changed her password and trusted contacts.
To be clear, there’s no way to 100% safeguard your account, but with some tweaks to your current security settings + general knowledge of how this can happen (and the importance of acting FAST), you can definitely minimize the chances of this type of takeover happening with you.
How to Secure your Facebook Profile
First, check your Security Settings. All of your Facebook Profile security settings can be viewed and changed here: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security
On this Settings page, you can see the locations where you are logged in, and can click to log out of any locations or devices you don’t recognize. (Please note: You may see an unfamiliar location for your smart phone, depending on your carrier. In my case, I’m located in the Memphis, TN, area, but routinely my cell location is marked as coming from Georgia, which is several hours’ drive southeast from where I live.)
You can change your password, click to receive login alerts, set up two-factor authentication, and designate 3-5 trusted contacts.
Two-factor authentication requires something in addition to your password when logging in. You have your choice of a second step including receiving a text message with a 6-digit code and adding a security key.
If you set up Trusted Contacts, Facebook can notify them that you are trying to access your account and they can send you a code and URL to use to log back in.
If the unfortunate happens and you think your account was hacked, start with this Facebook Help Page.
If you don’t have a Facebook Page (or end up losing access completely due to hackers) and think someone is acting as you on Facebook, start here.