Facebook Scam Alert: Hackers Exploiting Trusted Contacts to Gain OTP and Extort Money

Facebook Scam Alert: Hackers Exploiting Trusted Contacts to Gain OTP and Extort Money

Online scams are proliferating across the country, with criminals continually devising new tactics to exploit the vulnerabilities of online platforms and deceive unsuspecting users. One prominent target of these scams is Facebook, where scammers are increasingly hacking into user accounts and leveraging them to extort money from the friends listed on those compromised accounts.

In a recent development, the Jamnagar cybercrime police in India apprehended two individuals, Viren Ganatra and Hardik Chohan, believed to be part of a larger gang involved in hacking Facebook accounts. These hackers are known to focus on individuals with weak passwords, gaining unauthorized access to their accounts, and subsequently reaching out to their friends under false pretenses, often posing as someone in dire need of financial assistance. In response to these incidents, the police have issued a cautionary advisory, urging users to maintain robust passwords and exercise caution when encountering suspicious messages from familiar contacts.

Here’s a closer look at how these scams typically unfold:

  1. Targeting Weak Passwords: To initiate the scam, cybercriminals search for Facebook users with easily guessable passwords, such as mobile numbers or birthdates. Once they gain illicit access to an account, they proceed to peruse the user’s friends list to identify potential victims. In many cases, scammers target individuals, particularly housewives or those aged over 45, who may not have prioritized creating strong, complex passwords.
  2. False Security Breach Claims: Armed with a list of potential targets, hackers send messages from the compromised account, falsely asserting that a security breach has occurred. They claim that the recipient must provide a One-Time Password (OTP) to restore access to the account. The OTP is then sent to five of the victim’s friends.
  3. Exploiting Trusted Contacts Feature: Facebook offers a feature called Trusted Contacts, which allows users to select specific contacts to help them recover their account in case of a lockout. Scammers exploit this feature to hack into accounts. Once they obtain the OTP, they reset the account password, effectively locking out the legitimate owner. Subsequently, the cybercriminals take control of the account and begin contacting the victim’s Facebook friends.
  4. Money Requests: With control of the compromised account, scammers proceed to solicit money from the victim’s contacts using various pretexts, such as fabricated medical emergencies or educational expenses.

To safeguard against falling victim to this Facebook scam, it’s essential to remain vigilant and take proactive measures:

Safety Tips:

  1. Strong and Unique Passwords: Use strong and unique passwords for all your accounts and update them regularly.
  2. Beware of Unsolicited Messages: Do not click on links or respond to messages from unknown individuals.
  3. Guard Personal Information: Be wary of any messages requesting personal information like your password or credit card number.
  4. Enable Two-Factor Authentication: Activate two-factor authentication for your accounts to add an extra layer of security.
  5. Keep Software Updated: Ensure your software and apps are up to date to minimize vulnerabilities.
  6. Stay Informed: Stay informed about the latest scams and phishing attacks to recognize potential threats promptly.

By following these precautions and maintaining a vigilant online presence, users can significantly reduce their risk of falling victim to these Facebook-related scams.


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