By Tim McNicholas

CHICAGO (CBS) — A West Side woman says someone is using her face and name to run scams–from fake government assistance to listings for puppy sales.

The problem? She really does work for the government, so she’s worried her friends might get duped. Morning Insider Tim McNicholas has been digging into similar hacking stories.

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Tracie Burns is not selling Yorkies, but whoever hijacked her Facebook page doesn’t want you to know that.

“I got calls one day, at least 6 or 7 calls one day saying, ‘Is this you selling the puppies’ or ‘What is this money I gotta deposit to you?’ I’m like that’s not me,” Burns said.

They’re even messaging her friends and family asking for deposits. Now the hacker–still using Burns’ name and photo–is claiming they have connections to FEMA and can help people get thousands of dollars in assistance.

“I feel insecure about everything now,” Burns said.

Burns is not a FEMA employee, but she does work the government–the City of Chicago. She worries the hack could affect her reputation.

“It makes me look bad, and it could definitely hurt my reputation. It could jeopardize my job because im saying I work for FEMA.”

She’s one of more than a dozen people who reached out after seeing our stories on other hacking victims.

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Barb Onesti from Morton Grove is another. She explained how victims follow Facebook’s recovery steps. Then the social media giant says they’ll email a security passcode. However, those emails go right to the hacker, Onesti said.

Both Onesti and Burns say they’ve also sent in proof of their IDs but they still can’t get an answer from Facebook, ironically headquartered at One Hacker Way in California.

We turned to a fraud expert, Professor William Kresse of Governors State University, for context.

“I think most of it is just they’re pretty overwhelmed,” Kresse said. “The bad guys are going after those Facebook accounts. And they’re trying to keep up, they’re hiring new people all the time, but it’s a pretty daunting task.”

Burns said Facebook “is too big not to have a department just where they can handle just the scams and the hacking of the pages.”

Burns says she’s now lost access to precious photos of her family and friends.

“I’ve been on Facebook for years now, and I can’t get some of those back.”

But more importantly., he doesn’t want any of those friends to lose their hard-earned money.

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We’ve reached out to Facebook to ask what they’re doing about these hacking victims and whether they plan to improve the process.
We’ll let you know what we hear.

Tim McNicholas