A BRYMBO woman has urged others to be extra careful about what they put on social media after her Facebook was hacked and used by scammers.

Laura Williams, 42, realised something was wrong in July when she couldn't get into her account.

Hackers had accessed it and changed her password and email, before going on to try and extort money out of her contacts.

First, they messaged her partner asking for £300 to be transferred because she wanted to "buy a gift" for a friend.

The account then disappeared for a while before resurfacing in October.

Mrs Williams received a lot of messages from people asking if she'd been posting - and was horrified to discover what had been put on Facebook under her name.

A post in a community page advertised a PlayStation 5 and controller for sale, with the scammer using Mrs Williams' account writing: "Lost my only son to a brain tumour - I bought a new game console and I want to give it out to someone who need it."

She told the Leader: "I do have a son and people were texting me to ask if he was ok. He was absolutely fine - [the posts were] just untrue.

"It was horrible and I was just trying to put the fires out.

"But then, while I was in work, a man came to the door and asked for me.

"He said it was about the PS5. The next day his wife came and said she'd paid a £50 deposit for the PlayStation.

"The scammer had been giving out my address to people."

And then Mrs Williams realised the extent of her predicament.

"My address had been in my messages," she said, "and so had my passport, driver's licence and national insurance details - all my personal information.

"It's a nightmare."

The Leader: Laura WilliamsLaura Williams (Image: UGC)

She said she has reported the matter to Facebook numerous times but has only been told that the conduct "doesn't violate community standards."

Mrs Williams said her account is now being used to advertise puppies and she is trying to contact all of her friends to make sure they don't fall victim to the fraud attempts.

"It just doesn't stop," she said.

"I've told my family to keep the door locked and not to answer it if someone knocks.

"I have no idea how they accessed my account in the first place - but it didn't take long.

"I was in work and just got the email saying there had been a request to reset my Facebook login details.

"It all happened so quick. I am just gutted."

On her advice to others, she added: "The main one is don't put your personal details in messenger - because if you get hacked, you're going to have problems.

"And just be careful about what you post. Don't set yourself up to be defrauded."

The National Cyber Security Centre has a wide range of tips and advice to stay safe on social media. More information can be found on the website.


Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said: “Action Fraud can confirm that it received [Mrs Williams' report] on July 28, 2023. 

"It was assessed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) at the City of London Police but has not been passed to a police force for investigation at this time.

“With more than 850,000 reports coming into the NFIB each year, not all cases can be passed on for further investigation. 

"Reports are assessed against a number of criteria which include the vulnerability of the victim. "However, the reports most likely to present an investigative opportunity for local police forces, those where a crime is ongoing and those that present the greatest threat and harm to the victim or victims concerned, are the ones that are prioritised."

The Leader approached Facebook for a comment.