Woman's Facebook warning as hackers con hundreds from her friends

A woman has issued a warning after her friends were conned out of hundreds of pounds by hackers who took over her Facebook account for two days.

Vanessa Storey from Grimsby, Lincolnshire, said fraudsters message more than 200 people on her friends list after gaining access to her account last weekend.

The hackers pretended to be Vanessa and asked her friends to make Paypal transactions as she had encountered problems trying to sell something online.

Vanessa Storey had her Facebook account hacked (Grimsby Telegraph/BPM Media)

The ‘evil’ con artists sent money to Vanessa’s friends’ Paypal accounts from another stranger’s account which they had also hacked – then asked them to send the money back to a different bank account, which they said belonged to Vanessa.

But then, the hackers would initiate a chargeback on Paypal, reversing their initial transaction and putting the money back into their account.

This left Vanessa’s friends out of pocket as they had already sent the money to what they thought was her legitimate bank account – but actually belonged to the fraudsters.

Six people were conned out of hundreds of pounds and have since had to have their Paypal and bank accounts locked down due to the fraud.

The hackers had control of Vanessa’s account from Sunday night until Tuesday morning, when she was finally able to take back control.

They used the account to steal money from Vanessa’s friends (Grimsby Telegraph/BPM Media)

Vanessa said that every time she managed to get onto her Facebook account to try to change her security settings and passwords, she would be kicked out after about 10 seconds.

At one point the fraudsters began messaging her family trying to trick them into sending money, while Vanessa was sitting next to them.

She even ended up having a conversation with the hackers who were using her account.

She was finally able to get her account back (Grimsby Telegraph/BPM Media)

Vanessa said: ‘My Facebook account was hacked on Sunday night, but I wasn’t really aware of it until Monday morning, when they had already messaged more than 200 people trying to con them out of money.

‘It was very scary the way these fraudsters acted, pretending to be me and asking my friends and family for help with an online transaction. They used the good will of those people against them, it was so evil,’ she told the Grimsby Telegraph.

Vanessa has warned others to be wary of scammers (Grimsby Telegraph/BPM Media)

‘They began by asking my friends for help, saying that I needed help with selling goods online. They would then transfer money into their accounts on Paypal, before getting them to send it to a bank account that they thought was mine.

‘But the money that they were sending had been stolen from other Paypal accounts.

‘So whenever the people who had had their money stolen requested a refund from Paypal, as they had never approved the money being sent, it left my friends out hundreds of pounds.

‘They also received messages from others who had money stolen accusing them of being fraudsters.

‘The problem was, I was just not able to get into my account and stop these people from messaging others. Every time that I managed to get into my account to try and change the password, I was kicked out within ten seconds.’

Facebook is a treasure trove of personal information (Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto)

Vanessa said things got ‘really sinister’ when the fraudsters began messaging her family while she was sitting beside them in the same room.

Vanessa said: ‘I was sitting with my family on Monday night, when my sister started to receive messages from the fraudster asking her the same things that they had been saying to others.

‘She obviously realised that it wasn’t me messaging her, so passed the phone over to me and I actually started having a conversation with the hacker, who was just horrible.

‘They kept refusing to admit that they had hacked my account, then said that they were going to have me sacked from my job for racism. I am not sure where they got that from, considering that I was supposedly talking to myself.

‘The hackers also went through my Facebook profile to find out my personal details, so whenever someone they tried to trick quizzed them on whether they were genuine, they were able to come up with the answers, such as what car I drove and who my good friends were.’

She contacted Facebook twice to get her account back and they were no help at all (AP)

Cleethorpes resident Carl Leslie was one of Vanessa’s friends who fell for the scam, and while he has not lost any money, he has had all of his bank accounts frozen while an investigation into the fraud takes place.

Carl said: ‘I am lucky in a way that I have not lost a lot of money, but now I can’t access the money in my bank because my accounts and cards have been frozen while their fraud teams investigate what has happened.

‘It has left me in a real pickle because I am unable to get money out to put petrol in my car or even get some food.’

Vanessa said she tried to contact Facebook twice in order to have them shut down her account and stop the problems, but was constantly passed to an automated service that ‘provided no help at all.’

Even attempts to have her friends report her own account proved unsuccessful.

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