MENLO PARK, Calif. (NEWSnet/AP) — Forty state attorneys general sent a letter to Meta expressing “deep concern” over what they say is dramatic increase in consumer complaints about account takeovers and lockouts.

The attorneys general urged Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, to do a better job preventing account takeovers.

A takeover occurs when someone maliciously accesses a user’s account, locks them out by changing passwords and posts their own material, reads private messages, scams contacts and engages in other harmful or illegal behavior.

The letter asks Meta to take “immediate action to increase mitigation tactics and respond to users whose accounts have been taken over.”

It also asks the company to provide information on the number of account takeovers over the past five years, the suspected cause of account takeovers and safeguards it has in place.

“Consumers are reporting their utter panic when they first realize they have been effectively locked out of their accounts,” says the letter dated March 5. “Users spend years building their personal and professional lives on your platforms, posting intimate thoughts, and sharing personal details, locations, and photos of family and friends. To have it taken away from them through no fault of their own can be traumatizing.”

The takeovers pose a significant financial risk to users, who may be running businesses or have credit card information linked to their social media accounts.

Meta said scammers continually adapt to evade crackdowns.

“We invest heavily in our trained enforcement and review teams and have specialized detection tools to identify compromised accounts and other fraudulent activity," the company said. "We regularly share tips and tools people can use to protect themselves, provide a means to report potential violations, work with law enforcement and take legal action.”

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