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The Great Facebook Fuck Up, Part 2, NOW WITH A DIRE WARNING!

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Hi! I’m Jenny, and I’ll be your cautionary tale for the day.

Last week, my Facebook account was hacked. And like many people who assume that a multi-billion dollar company has literally any safety measures in place to protect their customers, I had my banking information hooked up to those accounts. If you want to sell or buy on Marketplace, you have to give them your credit or debit card info. If you want to buy ads, the only way to do that is through your credit or debit card, or through PayPal. As an author, I obviously used Facebook ads. When my account was disabled, I was unable to remove that information. But frankly, I believed that disabled meant just that: the account was wiped from the Earth and no one was using it.

They were using it. Whoever hacked the account and got it “disabled” spent thousands of dollars on Facebook ads, utilizing my business, personal, and PayPal accounts. I woke on Sunday morning to find a single fraud alert from my bank, flagging one $900.00 transaction. By the time I locked down my cards, though, it was too late, and the contents of my bank account were gone.

While I frantically contacted my bank’s customer service line, my PayPal account was hit for an additional thousand dollars. My bank shut down my cards but, because it was the weekend, I couldn’t dispute any of the transactions yet. I contacted PayPal, who informed me how to remove Meta from the list of automatic payments, but they deemed the transaction made by the scammers valid and they let the charge, which will come out of my now depleted bank account, stand.

The first thing I’m going to tell you all: get your financial information completely disentangled from all Meta Platforms services. Take your account numbers off. Stop running Facebook ads. Take your store off Marketplace. It’s a hassle, it may create hardship in the right now, but trust me, it’s a much hardership when your account is hacked and you lose all of your money in a matter of minutes. If you absolutely must use these services, do so through a credit, not debit card, that has fraud protection. But do not run that card through PayPal to do it, as PayPal does not have fraud protection, regardless of their claims.

Remove all Meta Platforms from your automatic payments on your PayPal account. Make sure when you’re looking through those automatic payments that you remove EVERYTHING marked as Facebook; I found more than one Meta Platforms entry. I encourage you to contact PayPal directly and make them walk you through the steps so it’s done right. Don’t hang up the phone until they can assure you that no Meta-owned platform has access to you. Then, begin the process of transferring payments from PayPal to another service and get rid of PayPal entirely. You can report fraud all you want, but they won’t believe you. You are not protected if you’ve ever used their service one single time with a Meta platform. To them, that’s enough evidence that any transaction, no matter the circumstances, is fully valid, and there is no recourse but legal proceedings.

The second thing I’m going to say is that this is hitting me at a very difficult time. I have surgery in two days. I have no money. I have to pay for the surgery deductible somehow (I’m hoping that I have enough in my husband’s medical savings account) and the copays for the meds they prescribe me afterward (I so do not want to do this recovery without any pain management). My health insurance and car insurance are still fighting over my surgery from last year. I’ve just lost all contact with the readership I built on my Facebook author page over the past decade. While my bank investigates all the fraud claims, I’m at financial crisis level “have we returned all the bottles yet?” If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “One day, I should throw a few bucks Jenny’s way,” or you’re thinking right now, “Gosh, I wish I knew how to help,” there are a few options:

  • Throw a few bucks into my Ko-Fi account. The money will not go to PayPal, but a separate service that has never been linked to any Meta platform. This is the best way to help in the right now, as the funds become immediately available.
  • For a more long-term option, consider signing up for my Patreon or Ream, which is just as appreciated and helpful.
  • You could also consider buying one of my books, written as either Abigail Barnette or Jenny Trout. I don’t get the funds right away, but depending on where you buy from, I’ll receive the money either at the beginning of next month or the month after. And if you’ve been patiently waiting for the paperback version of some of the later Sophie books, the paperback of The Sister just dropped on Amazon.

But listen, not everybody has money to help out. Hey, look, we have so much in common right now! It would still be super helpful if you spread the word to your friends about getting their money away from Meta and PayPal. And maybe say, “Hey, this happened to a really cool author I know. You might like their books or their blog!” and then tell them they can only visit my site or read my books after they protect themselves from Facebook.

You’d think that this would mean the end of me using Facebook. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil. Most author events require you to not only have a Facebook page, but use Facebook to join attendee and author groups, and many readers only use Facebook to keep up with authors and new releases. As a result, I do have a new Facebook page for Abigail Barnette. If you were following the old page, please follow the new one, and if you could share my occasional posts there, I would be so, so grateful.

In the meantime, at least I already had gone grocery shopping, and I’ll hopefully feel good enough to check back in on Thursday or Friday to tell you how the surgery went!

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Here for the first time because you’re in quarantine and someone on Reddit recommended my Fifty Shades of Grey recaps? Welcome! Consider checking out my own take on the Billionaire BDSM genre, The Boss. Find it on AmazonB&NSmashwords, iBooks, and Radish!

One Comment

  1. Tina

    What a horrible situation! I won’t write what I think about the various entities in this or you’ll have to delete me…

    Now is as good a time as any to buy a few of your older books from my wishlist. Also, time to mention your books to a few people, again. There’s a reason your blog is one of my favorite bookmarks! 🙂

    My best wishes for your surgery and recovery! Please take care of yourself.

    March 18, 2024

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