I recently had a friend contact me seeking help after her Facebook account had been hacked. The hacker changed her profile picture to a masked character reminiscent of the movie Scream and is posting content as her in another language. As we all would be, she’s pretty frantic to get it back. Then last week a client called completely distraught that hers had been hacked as well. Neither of these individuals had utilized the options available to them to better secure their account and unfortunately, thus far, neither of them has their account back. I’ve pointed them to a couple of chat resources and a form to complete but by the time they came to me, the hackers had changed their email on Facebook and the damage was done. So here I am writing this post to help you protect your account because as is often said in sports, ‘The best offense is a good defense.’
If someone attempts to get into your account (and even if they succeed) there’s a bit of a magic window available to take action and get your account back before they can do too much damage. Once you lose it and the login email is changed, you’re sort of at Facebook’s mercy to try and get it back if you haven’t set up the following features. So here are 3 Facebook Security Features You Should Be Using:
- Unrecognized login alerts: Set your account to get alerts about unrecognized logins. Hint – make sure the email address tied to your account is one you actually use!
- Go to your Security and Login Settings by clicking the down arrow on the top-right corner of Facebook and clicking Settings.
- Click Security and Login on the left.
- Go to Get alerts about unrecognized logins and click Edit.
- Choose if you want to receive your alerts from your email account, or a Facebook notification on a recognized device. (I think email is safer)
- Click Save Changes.
- Two-factor authentication. This feature is used in addition to your password and requires a special login code to confirm your login attempt each time someone tries accessing Facebook from an unrecognized browser or mobile device. I use two-factor authentication for my email accounts as well. It’s quick, easy and adds to your peace of mind.
- Go to your Security and Login Settings by clicking the down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook and clicking Settings > Security and Login.
- Scroll down to Use two-factor authentication and click Manage.
- Choose the security method you want to add and follow the on-screen instructions.I use the Microsoft Authenticator app and it’s available in the Apple app store and Google play, but you can also set up SMS Text message codes instead.
- Trusted contacts. Assign friends to be your Trusted Contacts on Facebook. These are people you tell Facebook you want to be able to assist you if anything happens to your account. When you notify the assigned trusted contacts that you’ve been locked out of your account they’ll be able to send you a recovery code with a special URL you can use to get back into your account.
- Go to your Security and Login settings.
- Scroll down to Choose 3 to 5 friends to contact if you get locked out and click Edit.
- Click Choose friends and follow the on-screen instructions. It’s worth noting for your own peace of mind that the people you select as your trusted contacts can’t actually access your account in any way just by being listed as your contact. The extent of their participation is basically vouching for you when you try to “tell” Facebook you deserve to have your account back. Your trusted contact creates instant credibility and allows you to circumvent the hampster wheel of doom that is otherwise known as Facebook support.
As quickly as technology is evolving there’s just no way to 100% prevent a security breach; it can happen to anyone, but there are many actions you can take to reduce the likelihood and it’s up to us to take advantage of them. So, don’t walk away from this post, don’t check email or switch browsers or save this for another time. Follow the steps above and put all three features into action. Now. Before you need them. I’m being a good friend here, don’t squander it. You’ll thank me later!