Saturday 6th August I was at a festival in Finsbury Park, enjoy a beer in the sun, listening to great music and getting some great down time…. When I got a WhatsApp message from one of our clients.
“Hey Scott, we’ve just seen some big payments come out of our account from Facebook. I thought we paused our Facebook ads a while back?”
Then came another, this time from a salon we haven’t worked with in months.
“Scott, is this your company? Please explain”
Accompanied by a screenshot of a payment of £400 by Facebook.
Now I’m worried. Little I could do until the next day, but it certainly jolted a whole lot of good vibes out of me.
The next day I log in to our Facebook Business Manager, and quickly noticed an ad in our ad account that we certainly did NOT post.
About kids locomotive toys, based in the United States. Lifetime budget of $130,000!
More searching and we soon discovered this ad was in the ad accounts of those clients who contacted me…. along with a whole bunch more.
22 more to be exact. 25 ad accounts, 24 of which belonging clients past and present, had this fraudulent ad posted in them.
After pausing all of them, I then spent 3 hours of my Sunday trying to reach Facebook support, desperately trying to explain that clearly our Business Manager ID has been hacked.
Facebook soon recovered our Business ID, then deactivated every one of these ad accounts, but damage was done.
Each ad account had been charged between £200 to £6000(!) by Facebook for these fake ads.
As you can imagine, I was a busy boy for the next few days. Sending out emails, speaking on the phone trying to keep clients calm. It wasn’t fun. A PR nightmare.
25 days on, every one of those ad accounts is still deactivated and many of these clients still haven’t been refunded.
And every time I contact Facebook support asking when, I get the same answer that
“At this time, our Internal Team is still working on this and it may take a bit longer due to the complicated nature of the issue.”
Now we will get our client’s money back. Will the ad accounts be reactivated? That we cannot say for sure.
If you’ve ever dealt with Facebook support numerous times, like us you’ve probably discovered they can be notoriously slow in getting these matters resolved.
We will keep on them until every last client gets their money back. But after nearly a month, this should have been actioned by now.
Take this as a warning reader. Facebook Business Manager IDs can be hacked.
And the hacker can create all sorts of damage.
Here is a few links to articles about how to avoid this and what to do if you are hacked.
You’ve been warned.
What can I do to keep my Facebook account secure -
How do I secure a hacked account -
Troubleshoot Unrecognized Activity on Your Ad Account -