Locked out of social media accounts? Watch out for scammers who promise help

Picture this: you settle down in the evening, ready to scroll through social media. If you find yourself logged out, try logging in multiple times. But it looks like you’ve been locked out. You can follow these steps to regain access, but what if that doesn’t work?

Some would contact others for advice on another social media platform. And if you are lucky, a professional salvage company will offer to help you. There are several ways they can do this, for a fee, of course.

It may seem like your only option, but read on to see how some of these service companies are nothing more than scammers.

Here’s the backstory

If you discover that you no longer have access to your social media account, you may be in a mild panic. Many sites and services use information from social media accounts, so losing access to one can create a ripple effect on others.

If you find yourself in such a situation, it can be tempting to accept the help of more knowledgeable people. But this carries a significant risk, as: Vice motherboard recently found out.

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Using a Twitter account with no followers, the publication tweeted that they needed help with a hacked account. Almost immediately, the tweet got responses from automated bots. Users can activate bot answers for specific keywords.

It was clear from the start that most of these responses came from accounts trying to make a quick buck or steal user information. Ranging from ‘DM for recovery’ to ‘contact this person on Instagram’. None were favorable.

When searching for more details about the recovery process, messages to the alleged specialists soon showed signs of a scam. For $65, an account claimed it could restore any social media profile and only needed its phone number or email address.

The right tools for the job also need to be purchased, which would be another $65 according to the scammer. “I need to buy a firewall booster online,” comes the reply, explaining that “it’s a 3D injection tool that we use to reset the account network.”

If that wasn’t a dead giveaway, the account accepted payment in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or via Zelle, PayPal, or Cash App. Finally, a firewall booster is standard router firmware that includes network virus scans and, ironically, anti-bot protection.

What can you do about it?

A blocked account can be alarming, but there are a few things you should try before contacting strangers and potential scammers. Your most effective account recovery method is to contact the social media platform directly.

If they decide to go for a professional service, they may ask you for credentials. This is standard for reputable companies, but there are also risks involved. Do as much research as possible about the company before handing over data.

But your first action should be to contact the platform. Here’s how:

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