We hear about Facebook accounts getting hacked on a daily basis. With hackers dedicated to pounce on the slightest mistake made by a user, cases of Facebook accounts being compromised have become quite unavoidable. There are also instances of a friend or family member getting unauthorized access and misusing the information available. If your security and privacy on Facebook is being violated, you need to take proactive steps to secure information that is crucial to you.
Broadly, two situations can arise if your account has been hacked.
- Your account is hacked and password changed
- Your account is hacked but password remains the same
Let’s delve into these.
- Your Facebook account has been hacked and your password changed
If you’re unable to access your account then your account has been compromised and the password has been changed. Your immediate action should be to visit the Facebook Help Center (www.facebook.com/help/) and locate the My account is compromised page. You can access it by:
- Clicking on Report abuse or policy violations in the tab to the left and locating the Secure a hacked account sub-head and clicking My account.
- Clicking on Something’s not working in the tab to the left and selecting Get help logging in. Follow it by selecting the Hacked, spammed or phished option.
After you are directed to that page, click the My Account is compromised button. You will be requested to enter your email address/phone number or your Facebook username or your name and a friend’s name.
If some purchases were made via your hacked account, you can also submit a report regarding the same to the Facebook Credits Support Center via the same page. Instructions to secure your account will be forwarded to the email address provided by you.
In extreme situations you will receive a call from the Facebook security team. Alternatively you can request your friend to use the same instructions to report and they will be directed to the Phishing section of the Help Center.
- Your Facebook account is hacked but your account password remains unchanged
Your account is hacked if:
- Your friends receive spam messages from your Facebook account.
- Your alternate email ids report activity on your Facebook account, other than those carried out by you.
- You get login notifications on your mobile phone (if you have activated this feature) when you are not signed in or from alternate locations.
The steps to secure your account are quite simple and will go a long way to protect your valuable information.
Step 1: Change your password
To change your password, select Account Settings (to the top right corner of your Facebook page). Choose the Edit option next to your password.
Step 2: Check your alternate email ID settings
If you have allowed an alternate email ID to receive notifications regarding your Facebook account, check if this email address has not been changed. If it has been changed/hacked, the offender will receive notifications about your activity. If you don’t have an alternate address listed, create one immediately.
Step 3: Change your security question and answer
The importance of an effective security question is critical. Your security question and its answer should be something improbable, the answer to which should only be known to you. You need to change your security question immediately as the offender may have viewed or changed your answer.
Step 4: Delete spam messages that you find on your time line
Check your wall and message box for signs of spam messages. If you find any, delete them and report them as spam to Facebook. Leaving them unattended on your Facebook profile is inviting danger.
Step 5: Remove unwanted apps
Remove any unauthorized or spammy apps. Go through all the applications installed by you by accessing Account Settings and clicking the Apps option in the small window to the left. Click Remove Application for unwanted, spoofy or unknown applications.
Step 6: Inform your friends
Notify your friends that your account was hacked and apologize for any inconvenience caused.
Step 7: Change passwords of related services
If you use the same password for other accounts (web mail accounts or bank accounts) you must change them. It is also advisable to change passwords that are similar to the compromised ones.
These steps will help you secure your hacked Facebook account. This will also ensure that your privacy and security remains in your hands and no one misuses them in the future.