A simple search for some customer service on Facebook turned into a real nightmare for a woman from Chicago’s Northwest Side.
She expected some help with a technical glitch, but she says the service rep provided a lot more than just tech support.
“At no time did he tell me that he was taking over my computer, but that is exactly what he did,” said Patricia Yonts.
Yonts uses Facebook to occasionally post family pictures and reconnect with her friends. She admits she's no expert. So when she noticed a technical glitch that was duplicating all of her messages, she typed "contact Facebook customer service" in the Facebook search bar.
“I typed it in. It dropped down. I thought it was legit. It looked legitimate,” Yonts said.
She called the first phone number on the list and a man answered, “Facebook Customer Service.”
“It was a man, and I explained to him that I was having a glitch with my Facebook account, and he said, sure, I can help you with that, hold on,” she said.
The man said he needed her credit card number, for a $1 fee. She refused. Then, he gave her directions to help him access the Facebook pages on her laptop. She hung up the phone, and then watched as he manipulated her Facebook settings. But then he went into her personal Gmail account, and forwarded all of her emails to another address. When she called to complain, he told her she could now have her computer back. But it came back with a surprise.
“A whole screen of pornography. Little squares, everywhere,” Yonts said.
Yonts says she watched as whoever was now running her laptop clicked on one of those little squares to start a video.
“Full screen pornography, disgusting, sound and all, and I couldn't make it stop,” she said.
She finally broke down in tears and slammed the laptop shut. The glitch, she says, wasn't fixed, but even worse, she later learned someone had tried to withdraw $150 from her Amazon account, and it cost her $60 to have her laptop repaired.
“I feel bad because I was duped,” Yonts said.
FOX 32 called the service that Yonts had turned to for help. The man who answered told me he WAS associated with Facebook. When I asked about Yonts' experience --including that porn attack --he claimed that the employee who dealt with her was being investigated and he'd get back to us. He never did. He also told FOX 32 the customer service company was located in Florida. When I asked exactly where, he hung up.
A spokesman for Facebook tells FOX 32 that Facebook has no association with that customer service company, and they've since removed it from Facebook's site.
Facebook says groups like these are persistent, and it's always working to remove scams like these.
Facebook also says users who are looking for customer service should go to facebook.com/help for assistance.