LINCOLN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Angela Bryant is the owner of Back Porch Club House in Lincoln County. She's been planning events and sharing moments on her business's Facebook page for the last five years. Last week someone pretending to be a friend reached out to her on the site asking for her number.
"And she's like, ‘Hey can you give me your phone number?' So obviously I thought well, she's just lost my phone number...so I just give her my phone number,” says Bryant.
Then they asked for a code she was sent, that allowed them to block her access to her personal and business Facebook accounts. To get control back Bryant says they want a $300 ransom.
"They went in, they changed my phone number, my email address, and my personal Facebook account," Bryant said.
The event venue hosts as many as 100 events per year - and Bryant says that her Facebook account is the primary way that clients could get in touch with her.
She says, "I feel very violated, to be honest. You know, not only on a personal level but professional. That's five years of my portfolio pieces of work that I have done, that's reviews that you never get back."
The Better Business Bureau of Central and Eastern Kentucky says social media scams have taken off, especially since the start of the pandemic.
Heather Clary, with the BBB of Central and Eastern Kentucky, says, "Since a lot of businesses started working remotely, it can be really easy for a firewall to be gotten around. If somebody is using their personal Wi-Fi at home be extra cautious about where you're using internet."
Now, Bryant just wants other entrepreneurs and social media users to be mindful.
"Facebook’s a great tool as far as advertising goes and small businesses, because you can put it out there and the other side of it, they're gonna use you as well. You know these hackers will use you any way they can."
Angela also shared that another business that was featured on her page was also targeted. She has since created a new Facebook profile for her business, also called “Back Porch Club House Venue”. She says she can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.