B.C. woman says no recourse after Facebook account hacked to sell fake Taylor Swift concert tickets

A B.C. woman says fraudsters have stolen her Facebook account and are using her profile to sell fake Taylor Swift concert tickets to unsuspecting fans.

“There’s no recourse for me. There’s nowhere for me to go to fix this problem. So for three months, I’ve been living with knowing that people are being harmed on my behalf,” Susan Cowling told Consumer Matters.

The Kelowna resident says back in January her Facebook account was hacked and her profile taken over by fraudsters.

Cowling says the scammers were able to change her password, blocking her from her account. She says she was tipped off by the fraud when a contractor working on her home reached out to her online asking about Taylor Swift tickets.

“(He) asked if he could trade some labour for some Taylor Swift tickets that I had for sale on Facebook,” said Cowling. “I never thought they could break into my account and pretend to be me.”

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Cowling says the fraudsters are also selling concert tickets for other events using her Facebook profile.

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She says despite friends and family reporting the fraud numerous times to Meta – Facebook’s parent company, there’s been no resolution.

“The desperation I feel. The gut-wrenching feeling that I feel when someone calls me and says ‘Oh I see you have Taylor Swift tickets for sale’. It’s indescribable. I feel horrible,” said Cowling.

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Cowling has since tried to be proactive by setting up a new Facebook account with a warning posted on her page indicating her old Facebook account is fake and she is not selling Taylor Swift tickets or anything else.

Consumer Matters reached out to Meta on Cowling’s behalf asking if it would help Cowling and shut down her old Facebook account, but did not receive a response from the social media giant.

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Some technology experts say they’re not surprised by Meta’s inaction.

“Meta has literally billions of users and there really is no mechanism for people to get help when they really need it to get their accounts back,” said Handy Andy Media’s Andy Baryer.

Baryer says the best defense is to enable two-factor authentication on all social media platforms.

“I think the moral of the story for everyone listening to these horror stories frankly is to make sure you take that five minutes to go into that settings, enable the security checkup that will save you a lot of grief in the future,” said Baryer.

Cowling says without access to her old Facebook account she’s left helpless.

“I have lost sleep,” she said. “I can’t believe that there isn’t a way to talk to a human being to fix it.”

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