Attorneys General Ask for Data Security Review Following Major Increases in Scammers Taking Over Facebook Accounts.

CHICAGO - Attorney General Kwame Raoul, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti today led a bipartisan coalition of 41 attorneys general in sending a letter to Meta Platforms Inc. (Meta) calling on the company to review its data security practices for protecting users’ accounts after a recent rise of Facebook and Instagram account takeovers by scammers.

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“Scammers who hijack a Facebook or Instagram account can steal personal information, read private messages, and pose as the user to scam their contacts,” Raoul said. “Having your account taken over by a stranger is distressing, and can do real harm to the livelihoods of small business owners who use these platforms to promote their work and connect with customers. I am joining my fellow attorneys general in calling on Meta to do more to protect its users.”

While account takeovers are not a new phenomenon, there has been a dramatic increase in these schemes over the past year. As users have struggled to receive help from Meta, they have turned to state attorneys general for assistance and support. Illinois saw a 256% increase in account takeover complaints from 2022 to 2023.

Raoul and the bipartisan coalition outline a series of commonsense steps Meta should take to address the account takeover crisis and provide better quality services to the millions of users who rely on Meta platforms daily. These include the need to increase staffing to respond to account takeover complaints and greater investments in account takeover mitigation tactics.

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The attorneys general also call on Meta to adopt new procedures for users to protect themselves from account takeovers including multi-step authentication measures. Additionally, they urge Meta to take this issue more seriously and take stronger enforcement actions against scammers.

Users who experience an account takeover from a scammer or bad actors are encouraged to raise this concern to Meta immediately. Users who are unable to get in touch with Meta or have the issue resolved can refer to the Facebook Help Center page with information on how to address an account takeover.

The letter comes during National Consumer Protection Week, as Raoul works to educate consumers about their rights and ways to avoid common scams. While it is crucial that Meta increases its resources aimed at protecting user accounts, Illinois consumers can be proactive by ensuring they use a strong and unique account password, and enable multi-factor authentication. It is also important not to reuse passwords used for other accounts because if that password is compromised, a thief could use it to break into multiple accounts.

Attorney General Raoul encourages individuals who believe they have been the victim of an online scam to file a complaint by visiting his office’s website or calling one of the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotlines.

Consumer Fraud Hotlines:
1-800-386-5438 (Chicago)
1-800-243-0618 (Springfield)
1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale)
Spanish Language Hotline: 1-866-310-8398

Attorney General Raoul was joined in sending today’s letter by attorneys general of Florida, New York, Tennessee, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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