Facebook is one of the most widely used social media platforms, with over 2.9 billion monthly active users. Unfortunately, with such a massive user base, Facebook is frequently targeted by scammers carrying out phishing attacks and other forms of deception. One prevalent scam to watch out for is the “Facebook Account Recovery Code” phishing email.
This deceptive email poses as an urgent notice from Facebook asking you to provide an account recovery code to secure your account from unauthorized access. However, it is a complete scam designed to trick you into giving up your login credentials. Once scammers gain access, they can take over your account for criminal activity.
It’s crucial to understand how this phishing scam works so you can identify and avoid it. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover:
- An in-depth overview of the Facebook account recovery code scam
- Step-by-step details on how the phishing attack works
- The potential dangers if your account is compromised
- How to tell if an email is the Facebook account recovery scam
- Steps to take if you fell victim to protect your account
This Article Contains:
Overview of the Dangerous Facebook Account Recovery Code Scam
The Facebook account recovery code scam starts with an email designed to look like an official notice from Facebook’s Security Team. The message will claim that someone attempted to reset or change your account password without authorization.
To fake urgency, the email demands that you secure your account immediately by providing a 6-digit recovery code included in the message. This recovery code is completely fabricated by the scammers to steal your personal login information.
Some key traits of this phishing email include:
- Uses Facebook branding and logos to appear legitimate
- Addressed from an email alias like “Facebook Security Team” or “Facebook Support”
- States your Facebook password was reset or attempted to be changed recently
- Provides a fake 6-digit recovery code to confirm your identity
- Urges you to act now to secure your account before more damage is done
The scam message is crafted to cause panic and trick users into thinking their account is being hacked. By prompting you to input the recovery code, scammers capture your password or gain access to your account directly.
This allows them to take over your profile and use it for criminal activity. According to Facebook, compromised accounts can be misused to:
- Post fake ads, affiliate links, and scam stories to earn illicit revenue
- Spread malware, viruses, and malicious links to your contacts
- Access personal information for identity theft and extortion
- Impersonate you to exploit your network of friends/family
- Hack into other accounts you have linked via Facebook Login
Once your account is hacked, it can be very difficult to regain control. The scammers often enable enhanced security settings to lock you out. This underscores the importance of being able to recognize and avoid this phishing scam before any damage is done.
How the Facebook Account Recovery Code Scam Works
Now that you understand the basics, let’s break down exactly how the Facebook account recovery code phishing scam unfolds:
1. You Receive an Email Pretending to be From Facebook
The scam starts with an email landing in your inbox pretending to come from Facebook’s security team. The message may be sent from an address like “email@example.com” or include Facebook in the name to look official.
The email is made to mimic Facebook’s branding, colors, logos, and communication style. This helps give the scam message legitimacy to trick users.
2. The Email Claims Someone is Trying to Access Your Account
The body of the email will state that someone attempted to log in to your Facebook account from an unrecognized device or new location. Or that an unauthorized password reset was initiated but not completed.
Again, this is completely fabricated to generate fear and urgency. Facebook’s real automated emails never make broad claims about unverified suspicious activity.
3. You Are Instructed to Enter a 6-Digit Recovery Code
The email provides a recovery code, typically 6 random digits, sometimes labeled as an “identity confirmation code.” You are instructed to enter this code on a linked page to secure your account.
The scam message emphasizes acting immediately before more damage can be done by this (fake) unauthorized access attempt.
4. Entering the Code Gives Scammers Access to Your Account
Unfortunately, the recovery code is a total scam. By entering it, all you do is provide access to scammers who generated the random digits in the first place.
In some cases, the code may take you to a convincing fake Facebook login page. Either way, any credentials entered end up in the hands of criminals.
5. Scammers Take Over Your Account for Malicious Activity
With your username and password compromised, scammers log in to your actual Facebook account. They often first boost security settings, like enabling two-factor authentication, to lock you out.
Once inside, criminals may plunder your personal info, contacts, and photos. They impersonate you and utilize your account for phishing scams, affiliate fraud, spreading malware, and other illegal money-making ventures.
Regaining access to accounts compromised by the recovery code scam can be extremely challenging. The key is avoiding the trap in the first place.
Dangers of Having Your Facebook Account Hacked
Now that you know how the phishing scam works, understanding why avoiding it is so critical for Facebook users. A hacked social media account can enable a wide array of criminal activity and abuse. Some potential dangers include:
Scammers can use your account to promote affiliate scams, fake deals, and questionable money-making offers. By leveraging your connections and info, this illegal activity appears legitimate to earn them revenue.
Access to your personal info, photos, connections, and private messages provides tons of data for identity theft. Criminals can piece together details to impersonate or exploit you.
Your account becomes a vehicle for hackers to spread malicious software, infected downloads, and phishing links. This endangers your contacts by exposing them to viruses and security threats.
If scammers post illegal, embarrassing, or offensive content while posing as you, it can harm your reputation. Mending relationships and building back trust takes time.
Access to Other Accounts
If you used Facebook Login for other apps, sites, or services, scammers may be able to infiltrate your other online accounts as well.
Having an account compromised can cause immense stress and anxiety. There’s a feeling of violation along with fears of how your information may be misused.
Suffering any combination of these damages can be devastating for victims. But the good news is this entire scam can be avoided by identifying and stopping it in its tracks.
How to Tell If You Received the Facebook Account Recovery Code Scam Email
Now let’s cover how you can discern real Facebook emails from this deceptive phishing scam. Here are some telltale indicators that an email is not legitimate:
Generic Greeting Like “Dear User”
Facebook’s real automated emails address you by name. Scam emails use generic greetings like “Dear Facebook user” to cast a wide net.
Broad Claims of “Suspicious Activity”
Real Facebook emails provide specific details about logins from unrecognized locations or devices. Scams only cite vague “unauthorized access attempts”.
Unverified Header/Sender Details
Double check that header details like address match Facebook’s actual domain (facebookmail.com). Scams spoof these details.
Strange Email Address
Scrutinize the sender address for any abnormalities. Scams may include Facebook in the name but send from a different domain.
Requests Personal Information
Facebook would never ask for your password, login credentials, or sensitive info over email. Any message with this is a scam.
Scare tactics using urgent wording like “your account will be locked” are manipulative tricks rather than Facebook’s style.
Sloppy mistakes are a giveaway of fake emails from foreign scammers versus Facebook’s polished communications.
Links to Strange Websites
Hover over any links to see if they redirect to sites unaffiliated with Facebook. Phishing links may look legitimate.
If an email aligns with multiple red flags, you can be confident it is not legitimate. Err on the side of caution if something seems suspect rather than risk your account’s security.
What to Do If You Become a Victim of the Facebook Account Recovery Code Scam
If you unfortunately fell prey and entered credentials into a scam recovery code email, here are important steps to take immediately:
1. Log In to Your Account
If you can still access your account, log in immediately and assess for any signs of compromise. Watch for posts you didn’t author, new friend requests, and messages sent without your knowledge.
2. Enable Login Approvals
Head to your Facebook settings to enable login approvals, if not already turned on. This adds a two-factor authentication layer of security to your account access.
3. Change Your Password
Strongly consider updating your account password since scammers have the old one. Make it long, complex, and different from passwords on other sites.
4. Revoke Suspicious Sessions
On your Facebook settings, you can view and log out of active sessions on devices you don’t recognize to kick out scammers.
5. Scan Your Computer for Malware
If you clicked any links, download Malwarebytes to check your computer for viruses or keyloggers.
6. Report Compromised Accounts
Use Facebook’s reporting tools to inform them your account was compromised. You may need to submit ID to recover a fully hacked account.
7. Watch for Suspicious Activity
Carefully monitor your financial statements, email, and other online accounts for any fraudulent activity stemming from the breach.
Addressing the issue head-on is crucial to limit damages and prevent your account from being accessed again. Make your Facebook profile as secure as possible going forward.
Is Your Device Infected? Check for Malware
If your device is running slowly or acting suspicious, it may be infected with malware. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free is a great option for scanning your device and detecting potential malware or viruses. The free version can efficiently check for and remove many common infections.
Malwarebytes can run on Windows, Mac, and Android devices. Depending on which operating system is installed on the device you’re trying to run a Malwarebytes scan, please click on the tab below and follow the displayed steps.
Scan your computer with Malwarebytes for Windows to remove malware
Malwarebytes is one of the most popular and most used anti-malware software for Windows, and for good reasons. It is able to destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss, without costing you absolutely nothing. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.
Download Malwarebytes for Windows.
You can download Malwarebytes by clicking the link below.MALWAREBYTES FOR WINDOWS DOWNLOAD LINK
(The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes)
Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.
When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the MBSetup file to install Malwarebytes on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.
You may be presented with a User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Malwarebytes to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the Malwarebytes installation.
Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.
When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes setup wizard which will guide you through the installation process. The Malwarebytes installer will first ask you what type of computer are you installing this program on, click either Personal Computer or Work Computer.
On the next screen, click “Install” to install Malwarebytes on your computer.
When your Malwarebytes installation completes, the program opens the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen.
Click on “Scan”.
Malwarebytes is now installed on your computer, to start a scan click on the “Scan” button. Malwarebytes will automatically update the antivirus database and start scanning your computer for malicious programs.
Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.
Malwarebytes will now scan your computer for browser hijackers and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
Click on “Quarantine”.
When the Malwarebytes scan is finished scanning it will show a screen that displays any malware, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that it has detected. To remove the adware and other malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine” button.
Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
Your computer should now be free of trojans, adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.
If your current antivirus allowed this malicious program on your computer, you may want to consider purchasing Malwarebytes Premium to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps:
Scan your computer with Malwarebytes for Mac to remove malware
Malwarebytes for Mac is an on-demand scanner that can destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss without costing you absolutely anything. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free, and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.
Download Malwarebytes for Mac.
You can download Malwarebytes for Mac by clicking the link below.MALWAREBYTES FOR MAC DOWNLOAD LINK
(The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes for Mac)
Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.
When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the setup file to install Malwarebytes on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.
Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.
When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes for Mac Installer which will guide you through the installation process. Click “Continue“, then keep following the prompts to continue with the installation process.
When your Malwarebytes installation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen. Click the “Get started” button.
Select “Personal Computer” or “Work Computer”.
The Malwarebytes Welcome screen will first ask you what type of computer are you installing this program, click either Personal Computer or Work Computer.
Click on “Scan”.
To scan your computer with Malwarebytes, click on the “Scan” button. Malwarebytes for Mac will automatically update the antivirus database and start scanning your computer for malware.
Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.
Malwarebytes will scan your computer for adware, browser hijackers, and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
Click on “Quarantine”.
When the scan has been completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected. To remove the malware that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine” button.
Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
Your Mac should now be free of adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.
If your current antivirus allowed a malicious program on your computer, you might want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove a malicious program from your computer, please ask for help in our Mac Malware Removal Help & Support forum.
Scan your phone with Malwarebytes for Android to remove malware
Malwarebytes for Android automatically detects and removes dangerous threats like malware and ransomware so you don’t have to worry about your most-used device being compromised. Aggressive detection of adware and potentially unwanted programs keeps your Android phone or tablet running smooth.
Download Malwarebytes for Android.
You can download Malwarebytes for Android by clicking the link below.MALWAREBYTES FOR ANDROID DOWNLOAD LINK
(The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes for Android)
Install Malwarebytes for Android on your phone.
In the Google Play Store, tap “Install” to install Malwarebytes for Android on your device.
When the installation process has finished, tap “Open” to begin using Malwarebytes for Android. You can also open Malwarebytes by tapping on its icon in your phone menu or home screen.
Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the setup process
When Malwarebytes will open, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through a series of permissions and other setup options.
This is the first of two screens that explain the difference between the Premium and Free versions. Swipe this screen to continue.
Tap on “Got it” to proceed to the next step.
Malwarebytes for Android will now ask for a set of permissions that are required to scan your device and protect it from malware. Tap on “Give permission” to continue.
Tap on “Allow” to permit Malwarebytes to access the files on your phone.
Update database and run a scan with Malwarebytes for Android
You will now be prompted to update the Malwarebytes database and run a full system scan.
Click on “Update database” to update the Malwarebytes for Android definitions to the latest version, then click on “Run full scan” to perform a system scan.
Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.
Malwarebytes will now start scanning your phone for adware and other malicious apps. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
Click on “Remove Selected”.
When the scan has been completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes for Android has detected. To remove the malicious apps that Malwarebytes has found, tap on the “Remove Selected” button.
Restart your phone.
Malwarebytes for Android will now remove all the malicious apps that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your device.
Your phone should now be free of adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.
If your current antivirus allowed a malicious app on your phone, you may want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your phone after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps:
- Restore your phone to factory settings by going to Settings > General management > Reset > Factory data reset.
- Ask for help in our Mobile Malware Removal Help & Support forum.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Facebook Account Recovery Code Scam
What is the Facebook account recovery code scam?
This is a phishing scam where users receive a fake email pretending to be from Facebook, stating someone tried to access their account. The email provides a fake 6-digit “recovery code” and urges the user to enter it to secure their account. This gives scammers access to compromise the account.
How do I know if an email is the Facebook account recovery scam?
Warning signs include a generic greeting, claims of “suspicious activity” without specifics, requests for personal info, threatening language, poor grammar/spelling, links to sketchy sites. Real Facebook emails address you by name and provide details on unrecognized logins.
What happens if I enter the recovery code?
The code goes directly to scammers who generated it. They will gain access to your Facebook account and can post scams, spread malware, steal your info, and impersonate you.
How can I secure my account if I was compromised?
If you provided a code, change your FB password immediately, enable login approvals, revoke any unknown sessions, scan your computer for malware, and watch for suspicious account activity. Report compromised accounts to Facebook.
How can I avoid this scam in the future?
Learn the common traits of the phishing email to identify scams. Facebook will never send codes or ask for sensitive information by email. Delete any suspicious messages immediately rather than clicking links or providing info.
Avoid Falling Victim by Identifying This Scam
As one of the most prevalent Facebook phishing scams, knowing the ins and outs of the account recovery code email is critical. If you receive a message warning you to provide a code to avoid unauthorized access, analyze it carefully using the red flag checklist.
No matter how legitimate it looks, Facebook will never request sensitive information over email. Avoid clicking any links and delete the message immediately. With vigilance, you can dodge the headaches and stress this scam aims to cause.
Stay wary of potential phishing attempts by learning to recognize key signs of deception. Arm yourself with knowledge of tactics scammers use to appear trustworthy. If you encounter anything suspicious about an alleged Facebook email, play it safe by reaching out to Facebook directly for confirmation.
Empower yourself against phishing attacks by spreading awareness about this scam to your Facebook friends and family. Together, we can thwart scammers’ efforts to take advantage of innocent social media users. With caution and education, we can enjoy Facebook safely and scam-free.