You may or may not know someone who's had their Facebook or Instagram account hacked because they didn't use a strong password or two-factor authentication. If you do know someone this happened to, or if it happened to you, then you know what an incredible pain it is to get Meta to help you get your account back. And now some states' attorneys general are pushing back.

The elders among us who still regularly use Facebook for something other than pet obituaries have found themselves increasingly under threat by scammers who want to lock them out of their accounts and then impersonate them while trying to scam their friends out of money.

The scams often take the shape of fake sales of cars or lawn equipment for absurdly low prices — which then leads friends to inquire about the item, and leads to the scammer asking for a couple hundred dollars as a deposit via Zelle or some similar wire service.

This can go on for weeks or longer if the Facebook user victim can't get the company to freeze the account or let them back into it.

This is what happened to Berkeley resident Richard Links, a widower who turned to ABC 7 — and their 7 On Your Side consumer protection segment — for help getting Meta to respond to his hacking case, after his Facebook account was hacked last summer. In his case, the scammer actually used a cruel ploy involving Links's late wife, posting a GoFundMe link on the account using her photo, saying it was a fundraiser for funeral expenses posted by Richard Links.

"It brings up a lot of anger, that someone could be so evil and heartless," Links tells ABC 7. "Stomp on me why don't you, and rub your dirty heels all over me."

The hacker also posted a car for sale and tried soliciting deposits from several of Links's friends.

ABC 7's inquiries ultimately got Meta to respond and restore his account, but it shouldn't take having to go on TV to get the proper customer service response.

In fact, 40 states' attorneys general penned a letter to Meta in March demanding "immediate action" on the problem of account takeovers, as the Associated Press reported at the time.

"Consumers are reporting their utter panic when they first realize they have been effectively locked out of their accounts," the letter says. "Users spend years building their personal and professional lives on your platforms, posting intimate thoughts, and sharing personal details, locations, and photos of family and friends. To have it taken away from them through no fault of their own can be traumatizing."

The attorneys general further said that their offices are becoming de facto places of last resort for frustrated Facebook users. "We refuse to operate as the customer service representatives of your company," the letter said.

Meta issued a rote statement in response to ABC 7's report that says:

"We know that losing and recovering access to your online accounts can be a frustrating experience. We invest heavily in designing account security systems to help prevent account compromise in the first place, and educating our users, including by regularly sharing new security features and tips for how people can stay safe and vigilant against potential targeting by hackers. But we also know that bad actors, including scammers, target people across the internet and constantly adapt to evade detection by social media platforms like ours, email and telecom providers, banks and others. To detect malicious activity and help protect people who may have gotten compromised via email phishing, malware or other means, we also constantly improve our detection, enforcement and support systems, in addition to providing channels where people can report account access issues to us, working with law enforcement and taking legal action against malicious groups."

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