Phishing scams targeting small business on social media
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The ‘gold mine’ for criminals is social media phishing scams targeting small businesses including Meta

Several small business owners have built successful followings on social media platforms like Meta’s Facebook and Instagram.

As a result, hacking rings have taken advantage of Main Street through phishing scams and other methods of cyber extortion.

It can be costly to regain control of social media accounts via ransom demands, and the alternative is to have to start from scratch.

Social media plays such an important role in most people’s daily lives that it’s no surprise that small businesses are increasingly using Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms to advertise and sell their products.

Small businesses, however, are at a big disadvantage when it comes to cybersecurity on these platforms. 

Pat Bennett, an entrepreneur selling granola in Cleveland, got about half of her sales through Instagram. Her business Instagram page, Pat’s Granola, was already under attack because of rising sweetener and oat prices. 

Bennett received a message from a small business owner she knows personally on Instagram. Bennett was asked to vote for her acquaintance using a link. Bennett often communicated with people on Instagram Messenger as part of a legitimate contest. It turned out to be an attack that affected everyone in her contact list. Despite using all the channels Meta recommends, Bennett cannot access her Instagram and Facebook accounts. 

The IP addresses were traced to Europe with help, but that wasn’t enough to prevent a worst-case scenario. After Bennett received a letter, she was told she could regain control of her accounts by paying nearly $10,000. When she refused to pay the ransom, she had to start over from scratch.