Jocelyn Field did not know where to turn or what to do when her Facebook account was hacked by an unknown intruder.

The Hawke's Bay woman first noticed something was wrong when she started receiving emails and texts from friends who suspected something was awry.

"The hacker was talking to my friends on Facebook chat, having a conversation, saying it was me and that I am stuck in Scotland and need money, which I would repay later."

A Facebook member for three years, Ms Field uses it every now and then to catch up with family and friends.

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"I'm not on it every day, it's pretty basic."

Now she is locked out of her own account, with no idea how to get hold of Facebook to notify them.

"I texted and emailed everyone I could think of to let them know someone is pretending to be me. But there's no support from Facebook, there's no privacy. It's quite scary."

Wendy Schollum, managing director of New Zealand website strategy, design and development company Xplore said hacking was a growing problem which occurred more often than people realised, but there were ways to prevent it.

"A lot of it comes down to account protection, choosing a hard-to-guess password and being careful who you 'friend' on Facebook."

Being wary of who you connected with was important because hackers pretending to be someone you knew could use a fake profile to gather personal information.

"They have access to your children's names, your birthday and a lot of other info, which could be used to guess your password.

"Before friending someone, make sure you take a look at their page to see if they are a regular user - that they update their profile and upload photos regularly," Ms Schollum said.

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It was also vital to be careful with email account security, and have different passwords for all social networking accounts.

"Use a bit of common sense with password selection, don't use the same one for your online banking as for everything else," she said.

Regularly reading over privacy terms and conditions and making changes to privacy settings could also keep your account safe.

"It can often be difficult for people to know what to do if their account is hacked because of it being a faceless organisation," Ms Schollum said.

If people find their Facebook account has been hacked they can contact Facebook on
www.facebook.com/hacked.