Facebook copyright scam intensifies, users left stranded


The Facebook copyright infringement scam appears to have intensified, with users reporting being locked out of their accounts with little help from the Meta-owned social media platform to restore their access.

The scam targets Facebook users by sending them fake copyright infringement notices and stealing their credentials. Cybernews first reported on the story, described by Avanan, in January.

While it’s been making the rounds for most of 2023, the scam seems to have grown in scale in recent weeks. Numerous users have reported that they’ve fallen victim to it, losing access to their accounts and receiving little help from Facebook in reinstating them.

Victims reported their accounts being renamed to “Meta Copyright Infringement” and sometimes disabled. Some said that they’d experienced credit card fraud, suffered damages over suspended business accounts, or lost pictures posted over the years as a result.

Others recounted how their hacked accounts were used to share explicit or violent content, with one user saying a picture of two men carrying AK-47 guns was posted on their behalf “written in a language I do not understand.”

Users also complained that they struggled with the appeal process, expressing frustration over the lack of communication from Facebook.

“I've had this account for 16 years and it’s linked to all my business accounts and I cannot use anything. When putting in an appeal using the form it immediately says I cannot review,” one user said in a comment posted to Cybernews.

Another said: “I have deceased family members and thousands of photos and memories I don’t want to lose…Emailed countless Facebook support emails and I haven’t heard anything back! Very frustrating.”

Meta did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

“Lost forever”

Unfortunately, for those who had their accounts taken over and had their photos or other items deleted or removed, there isn’t much that Facebook will be able to do about it, Joe Karasin, head of the Karasin PPC digital marketing company, said.

“I have several clients that have experienced this scam. Facebook has been little help to any of them. If you fall victim to the scam, you can go through the account recovery process, however, any data you gave to the scammers or your photos might be lost forever,” Karasin said.

Time matters if there is financial damage involved – the sooner the victim contacts their bank if they had their credit or debit card number exposed, the easier it will be to recover the damages.

“The best advice I can give is to know that Facebook will not send you a direct message, ever, especially to a personal account. If you are seriously in violation of a copyright issue, it will appear in your notifications, not Messenger, and most likely not in your email,” Karasin said.

Users should also never click on the links in messages from people they don’t know.

“If someone you do know messages you but they seem off, ask them a question only you and they would know the answer to. If they can't answer it, block and report the account immediately,” Karasin said.

In any case, users should report that their account was compromised at facebook.com/hacked, said Gary Huestis of Powerhouse Forensics.

“You should also check your Facebook messages and posts to see if the attacker sent any messages to your friends acting as you or posted any content to try to get more people to fall for this scam,” Huestis said.

To minimize the risk of falling for this type of scam, users should go to Facebook Security Settings to enable login alerts and two-factor authentication.

“As with other types of scams and phishing attacks, pay attention to any emails or messages that ask you to enter your password or provide any security information,” Huestis said.

Convincing scam

The Facebook copyright infringement scam is a phishing attack that primarily targeted organization accounts when research by the cybersecurity company Avanan was released earlier this year.

Users would receive fake copyright infringement notices threatening to terminate or suspend their pages because they didn’t follow Facebook’s Community Standards.

The fake notice would say that a photo uploaded to the account's page violated Facebook's copyright infringement policy and that the decision could be appealed within 24 hours.

The fake notice would press the target to take immediate action to address the issue, a common tactic used in phishing scams.

"If you miss the deadline, your account will be permanently disabled," the message warned, instructing users to follow a link to make an appeal.

While the link looked legitimate, hovering over it made it clear it did not lead to a Facebook-related page, Avanan said at the time. Instead, it led to a credential-harvesting website.

Researchers also noted that the sender's address was visibly fake but said the spoof notice was otherwise "fairly believable."


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Comments

Steve
prefix 6 months ago
Same happened to me, I cannot even log into my account and no way to contact FB. Many business and social pages on which I am Admin, +12 years of photos, memories, etc -- with no way to access or even change email./password. There has to be a solution for this!
CALVIN
prefix 6 months ago
Happened to me 2 weeks ago today. I was able to get customer service and actually talk to someone on the phone, they said they were working on it, then said it was fixed. Then later tell me that I needed to file another claim and they were unable to fix it.
Andrea Kollo
prefix 6 months ago
Maybe won't put the effort in to fix it since it would require some serious digging and fixing, then more to find out deactivate or archived accounts. 20 yrs for me and 2 business accounts which sadly you are forced to link to through private account which MUST be changed. To lose everything private from 20 yrs AND to lose all business accounts it just too much. Please update us if you hear anything else or they communicate a fix is imminent or there is something that we can.
Mel b
prefix 6 months ago
I have fell victim to this too and have no clue how 3 days ago. Has anyone whose user name has been changed to ‘meta copyright infringement’ and disabled account actually managed to get back in? 16 years of family friends memories gone - thank god I have photo albums but no comments
Verónica Beatriz Boneta Osorio
prefix 6 months ago
What can we do??? I'm from Mexico and I'm Frustated, I read all of your comments and the same it's happen to me. My customers, documents, filles, ecc. everything is lost. If someone know how we can do, maybe together. I'm in.
Dudeman
prefix 6 months ago
Same here. I found it extremely strange because I didn't press anything or open any links

It seems this is a coordinated digital attack by the Israeli mossad that is probably trying to silence all voices that maybe share anything political against them and possibly some random people got caught in the middle... Its either them or China somehow but whoever it is it's someone in very high level of government
Sean
prefix 6 months ago
Like many others, the email addresses originally linked to my account were removed, so now when I go to validate my ID, Facebook thinks any of the email addresses aren't linked to an account. It's absolute joke you can't contact Meta/Facebook in anyway.
Annette Rossi
prefix 6 months ago
Same thing in France. I am a writer and had a profile and a Page. My profil helped to keep in touch with my friends and readers and the Page was my professional account on which I boosted a publicity sometimes. 3 weeks ago, my account was disabled, my Page followed and money was taken out on my credit card going to Meta. Guess I was hacked but I can not rapport it as Facebook disabled my account so as you don't existe anymore, you can not do anything. I have written e-mails to all possible e-mail adresses I found, letters to Facebook Dublin. Nothing ! 5 years of hard work to gain readers with good articles, a Page with many followers and a small private groupe which still exists but without me and nobody can act upon it. What to do with this ??? I am furious and frustrated. I am a PAYING Facebook customer but nowhere to turn to. I hope to be able to make a new account with my e-mail address so I can start again promoting my books...
Andrea Kollo
prefix 6 months ago
I had this happen 8 days ago. I have tried everything but nothing found on FB will work because I do not exist. The facebook/hacked does not work because the only recourse assumes you actually have some access, I do not - and it seems no one that was affect by this does. I do not see my account and neither can any of the people that I have asked to look for me on their friends list or to try the url.

It is OUTRAGEOUS that Meta encourage community and family yet could care less when an account and 18 yrs of life and family is compromised. I have contacted FB & Meta on Twitter, I have emailed every department at FB 7 days ago and nothing, not even a "we have rec'd your message and you are in queue ... #10,000" would be enough for me. Just bloody acknowledge me -- publicly acknowledge this situation!!!

I have been disabled and my email / phone number flagged because I can't even open a new account. I tried opening one with a new email and new password, it worked, I got in but then I was logged out and it was taken over by the same name on the original copyright notice.

Then I tried on phone to open an account. I I believe this is scam flags by IPS and/or phone because even with a new email or password, I couldn't open another because I have one phone and its used for verification.

YOU CAN NOT ACCESS YOUR ACCOUNT WITH THIS SCAM -- they disable your email and phone that connects you to your account

THIS MEANS you can not go through Facebook hacked protocol because they don't see you - you don't exist

I DID NOT click on anything and would always go to the source

You cyber guys have to try to figure out how these bastards do this and help us figure out how to get our accounts back - because FB platform is not an option.
Andrea Kollo
prefix 6 months ago
Oh and I forgot to mention that I manage to Pages on FB. One is a general interest and the other is a business page. FB Business help does NOT allow for the fact that you've disappeared off the platform because someone has changed your contact / sign-in information. Interesting to note that I can see the pages but obviously am locked out as a Admin of the pages.
Manlio
prefix 6 months ago
same here, yesterday. Why do we have 2FA then? How is it possible not to recover any password using the mobile number which is still associated with the stolen account? I'm wondering...and the reporting to Meta? Not working, useless. I cannot access or report the facebook page since it's not existing so...the form online does not work without it...a multi-millionaire company with these flaws....hope to find advice and solution how to regain my account..
Cath
prefix 6 months ago
I had this happen on Sunday. Have tried several times to get in touch with FB but oh no, I have to login. Idiots. If I could login, I wouldn't bloody need their help.
Jessica
prefix 6 months ago
This happened to me last night. I am beyond ill. Almost 20 years of memories. My deceased mothers messages. These files have to be in facebook archives somewhere! They don't care about their users. They have no competition...why would they care?
Zach
prefix 6 months ago
I fell victim to this. I haven’t been able to login to my account for two months now. I’ve tried emailing FB, and I’ve received no help at all. I’m devestated…15 years of memories, posts, and photos are all gone
Doreen Gee
prefix 6 months ago
It is alarming how many cyber-security experts are so clueless about how these hackers operate. If one more 'expert' tells me to just go into Facebook to their Help Centre, when the first thing these criminals did was lock me out of my accounts, I am going to scream "humans will go extinct from terminal stupidity long before wars or CO2 could ever kill us" from the highest hilltop.
Doug Weaver
prefix 6 months ago
I just had this same thing happen. My account was disabled and I cannot regain access to it. All of my pictures are lost and I have lost access to my business accounts. I am just now realizing that Facebook has zero customer service. How can a company as large as META not have a single avenue for customers to resolve issues? They are clearly negligent and facilitating this behavior by their lack of any process to communicate and report this activity.
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