An Australian photographer is reeling after scammers hijacked his Facebook account, erasing seven years of valuable images and customer orders. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of cybersecurity on social media platforms.
The victim, Doug Bazley of Caloundra, Queensland, described the attack as a catastrophic event. Scammers took control of his Facebook business page, deploying a method that is increasingly common, according to experts.
Bazley’s ordeal began when he received a seemingly legitimate message from Meta Platforms, the company behind Facebook. The message urged him to click on a link to address an issue. Little did he know this simple action would lead to the loss of his entire social media presence.
“It feels like your business has just burned down,” Bazley lamented to ABC. “I spent seven years building that and had about 16,000 followers. I love to share and post photos of our travels around Australia.”
Sadly, Bazley’s case is not an isolated incident. Tahlia Rehua, a business owner from Logan, experienced a similar attack a day after Bazley’s. Her personal and business pages were compromised, resulting in the loss of 17 years’ worth of social media content.
Warning to business owners
Bazley’s story serves as a warning to all those who rely on social media to operate their businesses. As he put it, “All I can say is people need to be very aware of what links they get and who they let in. I do all my business on there, I have lost every single contact and there was close to $3,000 worth of calendar orders prepaid, and those names and contact details have gone.”
In the face of these challenges, users are urged to take proactive steps to protect their digital assets and livelihoods. Failure to do so may invite criminals into their online domains, endangering not only their data but also their businesses. Implementing robust security controls, including multi-factor authentication, is crucial to safeguard against such cyber threats.
While I am very sympathetic to anyone who has had their accounts breached, I feel that I must also urge photographers not to rely too heavily on third-party platforms to operate their businesses. Or even to anyone who uses social media to store photographs if those memories are valuable to you.
Don’t rely on social media
It happens all too often, and it doesn’t even need to be from scammers. You literally have no power over these platforms. One moment you’re there, the next day, it could all be gone. These social networks typically have very little customer service to help you after the fact.
Please make sure you back up everything and operate your business from your own website in addition. Any ongoing customer orders and contact details should be added to a separate database and not kept on platforms such as Facebook.
I know it’s easier to say all of this, and it does require a few systems and organisation. However, the alternative is just not worth the risk.