After 36 years as the chief negotiator and executive director of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Joan Husted retired and soon began Facebooking at the behest of her family and friends. "They kept talking about it and I'm going, 'I better find out what this is all about.'"
However last month, Husted received a disturbing message from one of her Facebook friends; her account had been hacked.
"I'm not a techy, so I never thought of Facebook and hacking in the same breath," said Husted. "I would like to know how they did it."
Whoever hijacked Husted's account began asking people on her friends list for money. Husted took care of the problem by visiting the Facebook Help Center.
"I sent out a message saying I had been hacked, and I wasn't asking for money," said Husted. "I did change all my passwords, not just my Facebook password, but my credit card passwords and everything."
The hacking of Facebook accounts is not new. In 2011, the social media giant announced there were at least 600,000 hacking attempts every day. Former Honolulu police detective and cyber-security expert Chris Duque, who goes by the moniker CyberSafety808, said hackers are using the tried and true tactics of the conman, with a 21st century twist.
"The biggest discipline is not to respond," said Duque. "Any small bit of information, any kind of cookie crumb, these scavengers, they're ready to pick it up and pounce on it."
KITV4 sent a friend request to Husted's hacked Facebook account to see what would happen. The person pretending to be Husted began talking about a lottery, and said to "friend" a man by the name of Rich Dennis. Soon the supposed Mr. Dennis was asking for personal information, like a full name, home address and much more. "This is legit," the hacker wrote. "Ask Joan about it okay."
Duque said it's easier to phish information from people on Facebook because of the familiarity factor.
"I can trick their friends to give me personal information, or make introductions actually," said Duque. "There's a big difference between face-to-face, and if I see something on my iPhone or my laptop."
Duque advises Facebook users to always confirm any offer with a phone call, or better yet, a face-to-face meeting at a trusted location. And he says to never provide personal information, even if you think it's someone you can trust.
"Just because there's a picture and some preliminary information, doesn't mean you're really talking to that person," he said. If your Facebook account is hacked, Duque strongly urges you to immediately contact police.
In Hawaii, unauthorized computer access is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison if the information that's obtained exceeds $5,000.
After contacting police, Duque said your next step is to notify Facebook with a police report number.
"You let them know your account has been hijacked, and to not remove or destroy any information that could help law enforcement," he said.
As for Husted, she's now much more vigilant about all of her online accounts. The password on her Facebook account is changed at least every six weeks.
"Make it a complicated password and change it," she said. "It makes it more difficult for people to hack into any of your accounts."