Toney small business owner duped by Facebook phishing scheme

Tony, Allah. (WAFF) – Ashlei Wasdyke Stapler sees an error message when trying to access her Facebook account.

Since 2020, she has been running a nursery with her husband, using Facebook to advertise and sell flowers. On October 3, she received an email from Facebook Support. This email asks her to verify her Facebook account. She said she unknowingly leaked her account information to the hackers when she clicked on the link.

“I’ve had my account for 17 years and I’ve never been hacked,” Stapler said.

“Why does it all disappear one day,” she asked. “Because they’re so good. They make themselves seem so legitimate.”

Stapleler said the hackers posted child pornography on her page. Since then, Facebook has taken down her page. The sudden hack could permanently damage her company’s reputation, she said.

“It looked like we might not be a real business and all of a sudden, all of our stuff was gone,” she said. “It just makes us look illegitimate and it has repercussions that I’m very afraid of. She said the hackers also took control of her personal account.

“It became a part of my life,” she said. “I didn’t realize how reliant we were on Facebook until we realized we couldn’t access it anymore.”

She said every photo and video she posted for 17 years has disappeared.

“All the pictures of my daughter’s birth, as well as pictures of my daughter that I gave up adoption before my daughter was born, are on Facebook,” she said. “I don’t have them backed up anywhere.”

Marc Sachs of Auburn University told WAFF 48 that social media users should treat their online information as the keys to the house.

“If you had a real store in a real mall, you wouldn’t leave a copy of the key under the doormat,” he said. “You certainly don’t give anyone a copy except a close friend.”

If you’re running a small business online through Facebook or your own website, you have to prepare for the worst, he said.

“Just like in the real world, you have to prepare for fires and floods,” he said. “You have fire alarms, you have flood protectors, you have a plan to address those issues. You should plan for those things for your network business.”

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