Fraud warning and advice after social media accounts on Teesside were hacked with ‘friends’ messages


Police have issued a warning after a number of cases of social media accounts being hacked.

Cleveland Police’s Action Fraud unit recently received 17 reports of social media account takeovers in the Teesside area. The majority of the cases revealed that the victims of the fraud received messages from accounts on their friend lists that sent links with promises of investment opportunities.

Once access was gained, the hackers proceeded to acquire the victims’ account details and take over their social media accounts by modifying the login credentials. The hackers then attempt to defraud the family and friends of the victims, while demanding a ransom from the victim in exchange for control of the account.

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A statement from Cleveland Police said: “All social media users are urged to be vigilant and think twice before clicking on any link, even one sent by a friend. Never enter a name username or password on a website accessed through a link.

The police informed the public that the best defense against cyberattacks is a strong one-time password and multi-factor authentication.

The statement also said, “We recommend using three random words to help generate a password. Three unconnected words to give the length of the password and a mix of uppercase, lowercase, special characters and figures to give it complexity.”

“Password managers are now built into most device software and will create a strong password and remember it for you. Multi-factor authentication (sometimes called 2FA or MFA) adds an extra layer of protection .”

“Once you enable it from your security settings, it will remember this device as a safe device and will always let you sign in, however, if you are using another device, it will ask for proof that it is indeed you. The proof is via an un-timecode that comes to you via a text message or an authenticator app that you install on your device.”

“If the worst should happen and your password is compromised, an attacker still cannot log in without this code.”

If you think you have been the victim of fraud, you can call Cleveland Police on 101 or the Action Fraud line on 0300 123 2040.



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