Since this morning you can no longer access your Facebook account? Trying to login, do you receive an error message warning you that the data entered is incorrect? A friend of yours just called you to ask you about the uncool phrases you were going to write in his diary? Face it, your account has been stolen!
Does this mean that you will have to say goodbye to your profile (and your privacy) and create a new one from scratch? Absolutely not! You can recover your stolen Facebook account by reporting the incident to the social network and starting the account recovery process. As if that weren't enough, you can even take some security measures - such as activating two-factor authentication and notifications of unrecognized access - to prevent someone from breaking into your account again in the future.
Looking forward to getting your stolen Facebook account back and securing it? Well, then let's not waste any more valuable time and get right to the heart of this tutorial. Make yourself comfortable, take 5-10 minutes to read the information in the next few paragraphs and implement the various "tips" I'll give you. I wish you a good read and good luck with everything!
Recover a stolen Facebook account
If your Facebook account has been stolen, you need to report the incident to the social network and start the account recovery process to regain control. To recover your stolen Facebook account, then visit the official compromised accounts reporting page and follow the steps below.
After clicking on the link I provided earlier, you should see a box containing a message telling you to start the account recovery process if you believe that the account has been compromised by another person or a virus. To start this process, click the blue My account has been compromised and in the Current or previous password text field, type the last password you remember.
Next, indicate why you think you were the victim of a hacker attack by checking one of the five options listed (I saw a post, message or event on my account that I didn't create; Someone else logged into my account without my permission; I found an account that uses my name or photos; People can see items on my account that I thought were private or I don't see the right option in this list) and click the Continue button.
After stating why you think your account has been the victim of a cyber attack, click the First Steps button and wait for the social network to analyze the recent activity that has been performed with your account. Then the actual account recovery procedure will start, which consists of 3 steps: the first is to change your password, the second is to check for any apps that have recently been linked to your account and the third is to check for recent activity on your profile.
To start the procedure, click the Continue button and, in the form shown on the screen, reset the access key to your account by typing the current password and a new password that you have never used before in the homonymous fields (the new password must be entered a second time also in the text field Type the new password again) and then click the Next button.
In the second step, you will be shown any "suspicious" applications connected to your Facebook account. If you didn't add them, tick the box next to their name and click the Delete button. Otherwise, if you don't see any apps that have not been linked by you, don't tick any boxes and click the Skip button.
In the third step, you will be shown the recent activity that has been done with your account. If you find some "likes" that you didn't put in or if there are other types of "suspicious" activity, select them by placing a checkmark next to them and then click the Delete button. If you don't see any "suspicious" activity, don't select anything and click the Skip button.
At the end of the process, you'll see the message "Operation Complete!". You have finally managed to recover your account and delete, as far as possible, the activities carried out by the identity thief with your account; you can then access the Facebook news feed by clicking on the blue button Access the News section.
How to avoid having your Facebook account stolen
After you have had the unfortunate experience of having your account stolen, how about taking some security measures to secure it? Well, then read on because in the next few paragraphs I'll show you how using a secure password, enabling two-factor authentication and notifications for unauthorized access can raise the security level of your Facebook account.
Use a sufficiently secure password
Using a sufficiently secure password is the first step you need to take to secure your account. For this reason, take the following tips into account when choosing a new password for your Facebook account.
- Use a long password - it must be at least 15-20 characters long to prevent it from being somehow "guessed" by some cyber criminal.
- Alternate numbers, letters and symbols - this way the password will be difficult to guess and the attackers will not be able to perpetrate dictionary based attacks.
- Do not enter personal information - the password must not contain any information about you or your family. Therefore avoid using your child's name or your wedding anniversary date as a password - you would risk "assisting" those who would like to take over your account.
- Change password often - changing your password at least once every two months is crucial to decrease the chances of it being intercepted.
- Use different passwords for each account - this way, if someone were to pick up your Facebook account password, all other accounts will not be compromised.
- Keep your password in a password manager - there are no "places" more secure than passwords. If you want to learn more about using some password managers, such as 1Password and LastPass, please read the tutorial where I talk about how to manage passwords.
Activate two-factor authentication
Activating two-factor authentication is another important way to protect your Facebook account from unauthorized access. Thanks to this, only you will be able to access your account since you will be required to enter a second key, which you can generate with the Facebook app installed on your device or receive via SMS.
To enable two-factor authentication, linked to your Facebook login page, click the arrow at the top right and select Settings from the menu that appears. On the page that opens, select the Security and Access item from the left sidebar and click the Edit button next to Use two-factor authentication.
Now, click the Configure link located next to the Two-Factor Authentication is disabled, click the Activate button in the on-screen box and follow the wizard to complete the process. Easier than that?!
From now on, whenever you log into your Facebook account from a new device or browser, you will need to generate or obtain a second key to use to login. Your account is now much more secure!
Activate notifications of unrecognized access
Activating notifications for unrecognized logins can also help you secure your account. With these notifications, you'll know if someone has actually logged into your Facebook account and you can eventually "kick them out" before they do any damage.
If you want to activate notifications for unauthorized access, log into your Facebook account, click on the arrow symbol at the top right and select Settings in the drop-down menu that opens. Then click on the Security and Account item (on the left), click on the Edit button next to the Get unrecognized access alerts item, tick the Receive Notifications and Send SMS access alerts to [your mobile number] options, and finally click the Save Changes button.
As I mentioned earlier, if someone will log in to your account without your authorization, you will receive a notification and you can immediately remedy the situation by closing active sessions (just click on the Disconnect from all sessions from the section Where you logged in).
What to do in case of problems or doubts
Did you have difficulty repossessing your stolen Facebook account? You were unable to enable one of the security systems listed above? If so, I recommend that you visit the Facebook support center in order to resolve any problems or concerns you may have after reading my tutorial. You can find a comprehensive answer to your questions either by typing a query that identifies your problem in the search bar at the top or by reading one of the articles in the Popular Topics section.
In addition to this, you can also try to contact Facebook by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to report privacy issues or any abuse perpetrated against you by other users. If you decide to contact Facebook in these ways, I recommend that you compose your message in English and explain in detail what problems you have encountered.