Profile picture that ended woman’s career –

A Sydney woman was about to go to bed when she noticed something strange pop up on Facebook – 18 months later, her career is over.

A NSW woman has been stuck in an “absolute nightmare” for the last 18 months after hackers hijacked the social media accounts of her small business.

She hasn’t been able to regain control of her accounts in that time.

Vanessa Graydon, 52, from the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, relied entirely on social media to score gigs for her catering service.

She was alarmed in July 2020 when, 15 minutes before midnight, she discovered she had been locked out of her Facebook account.

A hacker had broken into her system and tried to access her bank account details.

Then the hacker changed her profile picture to an ISIS flag which breached Facebook standards and resulted in the account being automatically disabled.

“I haven’t had any catering work since,” Ms Graydon told

“It’s amazing how much the world revolves around social media. It’s quite incredible what an impact it actually has [on my business].”

Her repeated attempts to try to get Facebook to reinstate the account have failed and she now works in a completely different industry.

Ms Graydon’s business pages had fallen prey to the “ISIS hack”, a common tactic used by Facebook hackers to buy them time while emptying out the victim’s bank account.

Essentially, hackers targeted people like Ms Graydon, who had a personal Facebook page linked to a business account.

The hackers took over her account and changed her profile picture to an ISIS flag, triggering an automatic shut down.

The idea was for the hacker to lock her out of her account while they maxxed out the credit card attached to her business page.

They would use those details to purchase Facebook ads which would funnel back into their own pocket.

Lucky for Ms Graydon, she had not linked her bank account to her social media so didn’t take a direct hit to her finances.

But the loss of her business account has left her devastated.

In the last 18 months, she has received just one request for a catered gig which was through a phone call, not social media.

“I’ve lost tens of thousands [of dollars], easily. Most of the gigs were proper catered for functions, usually for people who were doing an event at home, looking at minimum $1000 per gig,” she explained.

To this day she has “no idea” how she got hacked.

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Perhaps even more frustrating for Ms Graydon is her inability to get anywhere with Facebook.

“I’ve tried so many times it’s not funny,” the distraught business owner said.

Desperate to get her catering service back, the woman lodged a report with Facebook explaining how her account had been hacked. She was “never contacted” by the social media giant.

“I even tried to log the report through my husband’s Facebook account,” she added.

“I think Facebook is appalling, in my opinion it breaches their service code,” she said.

“When you sign up with Facebook you basically have a contract with them. There should be much better support. I’ve done nothing wrong [but] I’ve been punished.” flagged the issue with Facebook and a spokesperson confirmed an investigation is now underway.

Ms Graydon isn’t even able to start a new social media presence for her business as she has been banned from the platform after the ISIS picture was posted.

“I’ve even tried to set up new accounts, it [Facebook] won’t let me, it recognises me,” she explained.

She’s even tried it with different computers to change the IP address but has had no luck.

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