ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – An Imperial, Missouri couple was baffled when hackers hijacked their Facebook page. They lost control of their social media life and memories; including a memorial page for their late son, Ryan, who died four years ago in a hunting accident.
Michael Buffa keeps Ryan’s bedroom as a shrine of sorts. Ryan was 15 when he was killed in the hunting accident.
A source of comfort for Ryan’s parents after the accident was the Facebook page set up in his honor.
"Any type of holiday they want to write on there, still write on there, they still want to write to Ryan to this day, Four years later,” Buffa said, but that page went away after an apparent hack.
A hacker created a fake Facebook page, complete with Michael’s photos. “This is me, but I did not put this on here,” Buffa said. “I’m not the one doing this, I’m not the one at all.”
Buffa said he had no idea who would want to hack his Facebook account – or why, but one thing is for sure, it’s not very hard to do. An internet search easily turns up step-by-step instructions on how to hack a page.
A Facebook representative is personally in touch with Buffa to see if Ryan's page can be recovered.
Here are 6 things you can do to help keep your account safe:
1. Pick a strong password and never share it with anyone else. Use a combination of at least six numbers, letters, and punctuation marks (like ! and &).
2. Use our extra security features.
3. Make sure your email account(s) are secure
4. Log out of Facebook when you use a computer you share with other people. If you forget, you can log out remotely.
5. Run anti-virus software on your computer:
o For Windows
o For Mac OS
6. Think before you click or download anything.
What can I do to keep my account secure?
Here are a few things you can do to keep your account safe:
• Pick a unique, strong password. Use combinations of at least 6 letters, numbers and punctuation marks and don't use this password for any of your other accounts. You can also use a password safe like LastPass, KeePass or 1Password to set and remember unique passwords for your account. Learn how to change your password.
• Think before you click. Never click suspicious links, even if they come from a friend or a company you know. This includes links sent on Facebook (ex: in a chat or story) or in emails. If one of your friends clicks a spam link, they could accidentally send you or tag you in spammy posts. If you see something suspicious on Facebook, report it. You also shouldn't download things (ex: a .exe file) if you aren’t sure what they are. Learn more about recognizing suspicious emails.
• Watch out for fake Pages and apps/games. Be suspicious of Pages promoting offers that are too good to be true. If in doubt, check to see if a Page is verified. Also be mindful when you install new apps or games. Sometimes scammers use bad apps and games to gain access to your Facebook account.
• Don't accept friend requests from people you don't know. Sometimes scammers will create fake accounts to friend people. Becoming friends with scammers allows them access to spam your Timeline, tag you in posts and send you malicious messages. Your real friends may also end up being targeted.
• Never give out your login info (ex: email address and password). Sometimes people or pages will promise you something (ex: free poker chips) if you share your login info with them. These types of deals are carried out by cybercriminals and violate the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If you're ever asked to re-enter your password on Facebook (ex: you're making changes to your account settings) check to make sure the address of the page still has facebook.com/ in the URL (web address).
• Log in at www.facebook.com. Sometimes scammers will set up a fake page to look like a Facebook login page, hoping to get you to enter your email address and password. Make sure you check the page's URL before you enter your login info. When in doubt, you can always type facebook.com into your browser to get back to the real Facebook. Learn more about phishing.
• Update your browser. The newest versions of internet browsers have built-in security protections. For example, they might be able to warn you if you're about to go to a suspected phishing site. Facebook supports:
o Mozilla Firefox
o Google Chrome
o Internet Explorer
• Run anti-virus software. To protect yourself from viruses and malware, scan your computer. You can learn more and download this software for free:
o For Windows
o For Mac OS