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How Hackers Stole the Facebook Page of a Filipino Racing School and Racked Up $10,000 in Credit Card Debt

This should serve as a warning for everyone to secure our online profiles.
IMAGE JP Tuason Facebook
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Social media platforms like Facebook have changed the landscape of connecting people, establishing common interest groups and communities to pursue passion projects, hobbies, and activities. For over 10 years, Tuason Racing School (TRS), the country’s first and longest-running professional racing school managed to accumulate over 130,000 followers on their Facebook fan page. Aside from being one of the premier racing schools this part of the world, they also organize local racing events, including the highly popular Toyota Vios Cup.

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Owned by power couple JP and Jeanette Tuason, TRS found out that their decade-long hard work on gaining and maintaining its large Facebook following was suddenly stolen from them overnight. 

Last September 27, JP Tuason posted this note on his Facebook page:

Dear Friends. Pls migrate to the page link below. I would love to stay in touch. Due to hackers I will delete this page next week. Thank you and hope to stay connected with you all! 

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PLS READ: We got HACKED! So the TRS page was hacked last week by a Thai group and sold our page to a Vietnamese group who sold crazy stuff on our page because of our large following. Then they hacked my personal page to get my credit card details. Which they then proceeded to make about 10-12k usd in online charges. It has been a crazy week.

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We are still working on getting back the TRS page....

What is the lesson learned: turn on your 2FA!

So I have decided to open a new JP Tuason page and delete this one.... hope to keep in touch. 

All my friends pls like the following link. Thank you.

Jp Tuason

https://www.facebook.com/jptuasonTRS/ 

With the entire motorsports industry grinding to a halt because of the pandemic, the timing couldn’t have been worse. TRS was just beginning to promote e-games and online sim racing events and has also begun to gain traction through celebrity sim racing events online, including the recent #raceforfrontliners charity event.

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How Tuason Racing School’s Facebook page got hacked

According to the Tuasons, they received a Facebook notice last August 25th that their page was being called out because of activities that go against the social media giant’s community standards, insinuating some fraudulent activities being committed. The page eventually lost its “Blue Badge” last September 2.

By September 16, the Tuasons began to see their very own page story was edited without their consent and that all their admin privileges were removed from their control. In short, couldn’t access their own page anymore. 

According to Facebook, “If you see a verified badge on a Page or profile, it means that Facebook confirmed that this is the authentic Page or profile for this public figure, media company or brand. Keep in mind that verified badges are for well-known, often searched Pages and profiles.”

“Compromised GMail and Facebook accounts are among the priciest stolen logins, possibly because they could be leveraged to gain broader access or trick other people into handing over information,” according to an article on Business Insider.

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JP and Jeanette Tuason only found out that a Thai group hacked their page and sold it to a Vietnamese ads agency afterwards when a friend shared them the link. The couple immediately checked with Facebook’s 24-hour chat assistant for business pages and by September 21, they were able to locate the URL page. Facebook then removed access from the hackers. 

A few days after, Facebook returned all the access to TRS but unfortunately, the hackers still managed to stay on as admins and it took a few more days to fully secure the page.

“The 130,000 followers are still existing but the hacker had set the page country restrictions to Vietnam viewers only, so our followers in Manila or other country will not see all the online selling activity done by the hacker on Tuason Racing page,” Jeanette Tuason says.

When asked how they found out that their credit card was also hacked and got charged over $10,000, the Tuasons only discovered this when Facebook returned their access and they were able to trace all the activities done by the hacker. They saw that the hackers used the credit card linked to the page to boost the ads. It was only afterwards that they had the credit card blocked.

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How to avoid getting hacked

Here are some tips Jeanette Tuason says that business pages—or even individual ones—can do to prevent their pages from being hacked:

1| Pick a strong password and don't share it with anyone else.

2| Review your email accounts and remove any from your Facebook account that you don't use anymore.

3| Change your password on all of the emails associated with your Facebook account. If someone else has access to your email account, they can use it to gain access to your Facebook account.

4| Take advantage of Facebook’s extra security features.

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Readers can support the Tuasons cause by liking their real Facebook account.

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Alvin Uy
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