Attorney General James Leads Bipartisan Coalition Calling on Meta to Protect Users’ Accounts From Scammers

Coalition of 41 Attorneys General Ask for Data Security Review Following Major Increases in Scammers Taking Over Facebook and Instagram Accounts

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James led a bipartisan coalition of 41 attorneys general in sending a letter to Meta Platforms, Inc. (Meta) addressing the recent rise of Facebook and Instagram account takeovers by scammers and frauds. Account takeovers are when bad actors break into a user’s account and change passwords, effectively hijacking the account and blocking out the rightful owner. Attorney General James and the bipartisan coalition are calling on Meta to thoroughly review data security practices for protecting its users’ accounts from being unfairly locked out or taken over by scammers. 

“Having your social media account taken over by a scammer can feel like having someone sneak into your home and change all of the locks,” said Attorney General James. “Social media is how millions of Americans connect with family, friends, and people throughout their communities and the world. To have Meta fail to properly protect users from scammers trying to hijack accounts and lock rightful owners out is unacceptable. I thank my fellow attorneys general for joining me to call on Meta to take commonsense user protection measures and dedicate more of their resources to respond to this threat.”

Once scammers hijack a Facebook or Instagram user’s account and change the password, they can steal personal information, read private messages, pose as the user to scam contacts, and even post publicly as the rightful user. All these actions cause undue harm and stress to account owners and their connections. While account takeovers are not a new phenomenon, there has been a dramatic increase in these schemes over the past year. As users have struggled to receive help from Meta, they have turned to their attorneys general seeking assistance and support. Between 2019 and 2023, there has been a 1,000 percent increase in reported account takeover complaints made to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). In January 2024 alone, 128 complaints were made to OAG about this growing problem. 

To address the account takeover crisis and provide better quality services to the millions of users who rely on Meta platforms daily, the letter from Attorney General James and the bipartisan coalition outlines a series of commonsense steps Meta should take. These include increasing staffing to respond to account takeover complaints and greater investment in account takeover mitigation tactics. The attorneys general also call on Meta to adopt new procedures for users to protect themselves from account takeovers. Additionally, Attorney General James and the bipartisan coalition urge Meta to take this issue more seriously and take stronger enforcement actions against scammers.

Users who experience an account takeover from a scammer or bad actors are encouraged to raise this concern to Meta immediately. Users unable to get in touch with Meta or have the issue resolved can refer to Facebook's help center on how to address an account takeover situation. 

Joining Attorney General James in issuing today's letter are the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawai'i, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.