April 13, 2024

D.C. urges Meta Platforms to take decisive action against the rising threat of scammers hijacking Facebook and Instagram accounts in 40 U.S. states, including Washington.

Led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, the states expressed deep concern about a “dramatic” surge in account takeovers and called on Meta to address the issue promptly.

In a letter addressed to Meta’s chief lawyer, the states highlighted the challenges posed by fraudsters who exploit vulnerabilities on social media platforms. The letter emphasized the increasing frequency of account takeovers, with New York alone reporting a staggering 1,000% surge in complaints since 2019. 

Notably, these scammers gain unauthorized access, change passwords, and use the compromised accounts to deceive contacts and the public. According to the report, four states, Illinois, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Vermont, reported a rise in complaints, with each one noting a surge exceeding 250% in the past year alone.

The states collectively urged Meta to allocate additional resources to enhance efforts against account takeovers. Recommendations included increased staffing and closer collaboration with individuals whose accounts have been compromised.

In response, Meta highlighted its substantial investments in technology and staffing to identify compromised accounts, including its commitment to sharing tips with users and law enforcement to combat the growing issue.

Supported by a wide range of states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, and many more, this collective call for action highlights the urgency of addressing the escalating problem of social media account hijackings before it wrecks more havoc.

This development follows a previous legal action in October, where 41 states and Washington, D.C. sued Meta. They alleged that the company intentionally designed its platforms to addict children, negatively impacting their mental health. Meanwhile, Meta has brought attention to the prevalence of social media scams.

The company urged users to stay vigilant and understand the significance of steering clear of these deceptive practices. Among the top 5 social media scams are Catfishing, Social Media Quiz Scams, Profile Hijacking, Hidden URL Social Media Scams, and Investment Scams.

The repercussions of falling victim to these scams can range from financial setbacks and identity theft to tarnished reputations and the compromise of personal information. 

Safeguarding oneself from such scams often involves refraining from clicking on suspicious links and minimizing the disclosure of personal details on social media profiles.

It also involves exercising caution when confronted with requests for money or sensitive information from unfamiliar sources.

Furthermore, in May last year, Meta issued a warning regarding scams related to ChatGPT, where fraudsters exploit sophisticated AI-powered chatbots such as ChatGPT to compromise online accounts.

Notably, the company has taken action by blocking over 1000 malicious URLs associated with ChatGPT-related scams and remains committed to strengthening security measures to combat these deceptive activities.

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