Locked out of Facebook page, Oak Forest man gets scammed by fake customer service number

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- It can be a personal or professional nightmare not being able to properly update your Facebook account.

Rob Peto has been locked out of his account for three years, unable to access his heavy metal band's fan page. He said this "Facebook lockout" even caused him to fall for a scam.

There's no phone number to talk to anyone at Facebook. For that reason, Peto turned to the ABC7 I-Team for help.

When it comes to heavy metal music, Peto is a headbanger. But he's also been banging his head on his computer screen for the last three years.

"One of our fans thought we weren't a band anymore," he said. "'Oh, your page hasn't been updated.' I'm like, 'Oh, I'm well aware, I'm well aware.'"

He's frustrated over not being able to properly access his band's Facebook fan page.

"I went to add our new guitar player and it says, 'Your account has been temporarily locked.' Okay. So I sent an email to Facebook asking why my account has been locked. I didn't get much of a reply and they said, 'Your account has been locked,'" he said.

Peto said he is able to post photos and videos, but he hasn't been able to edit detailed information, add reviews or update phone numbers or band members.

"They sent me an automated response, 'There are many Facebook users with many complaints. We'll hopefully resolve your issue in time,'" he said. "But it's been three years already."

Peto said he started searching for a Facebook contact number when he felt he was getting nowhere. But that number ended up being a fake and scammed him out of money.

"He said, 'Buy two Google cards and give me the numbers off of them and I'll be able to unlock your page,'" Peto said. "I went and I bought them, $50 each."

That $100 gone, he turned to the I-Team and had consumer reporter Jason Knowles call the fake Facebook number instead.

Knowles called the number, which started with "844," and was told by whomever answered the call that they were third party support for Facebook. The person on the other end of the line asked for personal information attached to Knowles' account, so he hung up.

The I-Team also contacted a media spokesperson for Facebook who said, "... we were able to help the user log back into his account and it looks like he should be able to access his Page."

Peto is grateful.

"It's the most important thing we've got going outside of performing," he said.

Facebook would not say how Peto's lockout occurred but said overall that users could be locked out if they're flagged as spammers for sharing something "... too quickly or too often in a short amount of time." Facebook said this activity can be recognized "... as similar to that of bad actors."

If this happens to you, Facebook said users can appeal below the limits description at the top of their Facebook Page.

Facebook also said it has automated and manual systems in place to stop suspicious behavior like "... fake clicks or followers..."

Peto's band, Central Disorder, has nearly 2,000 followers. He said all of them are genuine and that any confusion may have been avoided if he was able to talk to someone verbally.

"If they had a legit help department a real customer service. What do they have a billion, 2 billion Facebook accounts in the world. I know it's logistically impossible to have that much support for something that big but have something. Have something," he said.

Now he's glad to have an all-access pass - to his own band's account.

"Thank you I-Team. They contacted Facebook. I'm able to go in and edit my Page for the first time in three years. I updated my band members and everything else," Peto said.

Facebook said it may require users in this situation to send personal information, like a copy of an ID, but you can cover personal information besides your name and date of birth.

If you're dealing with a lockout you can also get more guidance at Facebook's Help Center. Facebook has answered questions there like, "Why are there limits on my Facebook Page?" and "What happens to my ID after I send it to Facebook?"

Users can also visit Facebook's Help Community to get help from other people on Facebook with similar questions.
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