Facebook is one of the most widely used social media platforms, with over 2.9 billion monthly active users as of 2022. Such a massive userbase makes Facebook an attractive target for scammers looking to steal personal information and hijack accounts. One common Facebook scam involves messages claiming your account is at risk of being disabled or deleted due to policy violations.
This article will provide an in-depth look at how the “Your Facebook Account will be Deactivated” scam works, who is vulnerable, and most importantly, how to protect yourself.
This Article Contains:
Overview of the Scam
The Facebook “Account will be Deactivated” scam typically starts with an alarming message sent via Facebook Messenger, email, text message, or even posted directly on your Facebook wall. The message claims that your account is in violation of Facebook’s terms, conditions, or community standards. It often cites suspicious activity detected, inappropriate content posted, too many friend requests sent, or various other fabricated reasons that your account is allegedly violating policy guidelines.
The message stresses that if you don’t take immediate action, such as clicking on a provided link or calling a listed phone number, your account will be permanently deleted, deactivated, or suspended. This creates a pressing sense of urgency to act fast in order to verify your identity and salvage your account before it’s too late.
Some examples of common subject lines used in these scam messages are:
- “Alert: Your Facebook account has been flagged for immediate deactivation due to suspicious activity.”
- “Warning: Your Facebook account is scheduled for permanent deletion in 24 hours due to multiple community standards violations.”
- “Urgent: Last chance to avoid Facebook account termination for inappropriate content posted.”
- “Your Facebook account is due to be deactivated in 48 hours due to unusual activity detected. Please verify to avoid losing your profile.”
- “Final Notice: Comply immediately or your Facebook access will be revoked for multiple terms of service breaches.”
In reality, the alarming message is not from Facebook at all. It is carefully crafted and distributed on a mass scale by scammers to trick unsuspecting Facebook users. Their goal is to scare people into providing sensitive login credentials or personal information. This is accomplished by directing victims to fake Facebook support websites, unusual login pages, or phone numbers controlled by the scammers themselves.
These fraudulent pages and flows are designed to closely mimic Facebook’s interface and messaging in order to harvest user account details, financial information, or even install malware onto devices. It is an attempt to fully take over user accounts for malicious purposes. But the links, websites, and phone numbers are not authorized or associated with Facebook in any way. They are part of a scam orchestrated by bad actors to steal personal information and hijack accounts.
How the Scam Works Step-by-Step
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how scammers execute the “Your Facebook Account will be Deactivated” scam:
1. You Receive an Alarming Message
You will receive a message that appears to be from Facebook. It may arrive via:
- Facebook Messenger
- Text message
- Facebook post or comment on your profile
The message will claim your account is violating Facebook policies based on suspicious activity spotted, inappropriate content posted, copyright infringements, too many friend requests sent, or various other fabricated reasons.
It stresses that if you don’t take action ASAP, your account will be disabled or deleted permanently. Some common subject lines are:
- Alert: Your Facebook account has been flagged for immediate deactivation
- Warning: Your Facebook account is scheduled for deletion in 24 hours
- Urgent: Last chance to avoid Facebook account termination
2. You Are Provided Steps to “Secure” Your Account
The message provides specific steps you must take to allegedly verify or secure your account. This includes:
- Clicking on a link to read more details or file an appeal
- Calling a listed phone number for help with account recovery
- Replying to the message with personal information like passwords or credit card numbers
The links will redirect to convincing but fake Facebook login pages. The phone numbers connect you to skilled scammers posing as Facebook support. Overall, their goal is tricking you into giving up your login info or financial details.
3. Your Information is Stolen
If you click on the provided links or call the listed phone numbers, any information you provide goes directly to the scammers. They will harvest your:
- Facebook username & password
- Full name, email, and other personal details
- Credit card numbers or online account credentials
Armed with this info, scammers can now access and take over your real Facebook account, as well as other linked accounts. They may also use stolen financial information for fraudulent purchases and theft.
4. Your Accounts Get Hijacked
Once scammers gain access, they can fully compromise both your Facebook profile and connected accounts. Some damage they may inflict includes:
- Posting spam advertisements or malicious links using your identity
- Spreading the same scam message to your friends and contacts
- Accessing your social media profiles and impersonating you
- Stealing personal info, photos, messages, and contacts lists
- Making unauthorized purchases with linked payment methods
- Hijacking other accounts linked via Facebook Login
In essence, they weaponize your account to scam others, commit identity theft, and distribute malware.
Who is Most Vulnerable to This Scam?
Some Facebook users are more prone to falling for this scam and should exercise extra vigilance:
- Elderly Facebook users – Senior citizens may be less tech-savvy and more apt to think the message is real.
- Business page owners – Scammers know they want to avoid losing their audience and livelihood.
- Recent policy violators – If you did recently violate a Facebook policy, the message can seem credible.
- Inactive Facebook users – If you abandoned your account some time back only to be greeted with this message, it could seem feasible.
- Users with higher friend counts – Scammers seek to hijack accounts with more connections to spread their scam wider.
However, all Facebook users are susceptible. Even the most social media-savvy person can let their guard down for a moment. The message triggers fears of losing precious photos, conversations, contacts, and even an important marketing platform for businesses.
5 Telltale Signs It’s a Scam
Learning to recognize the signs of this scam can help you avoid compromising your account and information. Be wary if the message:
- Creates urgency – Scammers want you to act fast without thinking by threatening account deletion. Real Facebook warnings allow significantly more time to resolve any issues.
- Demands personal information upfront – Facebook would never demand any private account details or financial information via unsolicited messages or calls.
- Contains poor grammar/spelling errors – Sloppy grammar or sentence structure is a red flag.
- Includes a dubious link – Hover over links to see the actual URL destination, which is often completely different than what the scammer claims.
- Comes from an unknown sender – The message is not from an official Facebook account, email, or recognized number. It comes from an unknown entity impersonating Facebook.
How to Spot This Scam on Facebook
When using Facebook, it is important to be vigilant against potential scams like the “Your Account will be Deactivated” phishing scam. Here are some tips to recognize telltale signs of this scam on Facebook in order to avoid compromising your account and personal information:
Suspicious Messages in Your Facebook Inbox
Carefully scrutinize any messages received in your Facebook inbox, especially from users you don’t know. Examples of suspicious messages include:
- Messages claiming your account will be deactivated or deleted due to suspicious activity detected or policy violations. They create urgency to act fast.
- Messages containing links or phone numbers to supposedly “verify your identity” or “reactivate your account.”
- Messages warning your access will be revoked and urging you to secure your account.
Questionable Posts on Your Facebook Profile
Scammers may also post questionable messages directly onto your Facebook wall/profile timeline. Be wary of posts that:
- Warn your account is at risk of being disabled or deleted.
- Provide links to guides on avoiding account deactivation.
- Ask you to contact an account specialist urgently.
Dubious Facebook Ads
The scam messaging may also appear within Facebook ads shown in your newsfeed or on the right sidebar. Examples include:
- Ads warning your account will be deleted with a link to appeal the violation.
- Ads posing as Facebook customer support guiding you to rectify issues.
- Ads offering Facebook account verification services to avoid deactivation.
Suspicious Activity by Your Contacts
Watch for your Facebook friends suddenly posting or messaging questionable warnings about account deactivations. Their accounts may have gotten hijacked to spread the scam wider.
Links to Fake Facebook Pages
Most versions of this scam will contain links meant to phish your information. Hover over any provided links to check where they really direct you. The actual URLs will likely be completely different than what the scammers claim.
By watching for these common signs of the scam on Facebook itself, you have a better chance of recognizing and avoiding this scheme before it compromises the security of your account.
What to Do If You Fell For This Scam
If you supplied sensitive information, clicked on links, or called phone numbers provided in one version of this scam message, take the following steps immediately:
- Change your Facebook password – Even if you didn’t give your actual password, scammers could still access your account with personal details provided. Reset your password quickly. Enable two-factor authentication for added security against future attacks.
- Scan devices for malware – If you clicked any links, quickly scan all devices used to access Facebook using trusted antivirus software. Delete anything deemed suspicious. Scammer links can download keylogging malware or other viruses to steal data.
- Review recently posted content – Check your Facebook activity log for any spam, unauthorized posts, or strange messages sent recently, and delete them.
- Alert your friends – Warn friends not to open suspicious messages appearing to come from you. Their accounts could now be compromised as well.
- Watch for unauthorized charges – If credit card info was provided over the phone, closely monitor statements for any fraudulent purchases made and report them. Cancel the card if necessary.
- Contact Facebook – Use Facebook’s official help forms to report unauthorized access, suspicious links, or compromised accounts. They can help secure accounts.
- Reset other linked account passwords – If any other online accounts were accessible through your Facebook account, change those passwords as well to block access.
How to Avoid the “Your Account will be Deactivated” Scam
Stopping this scam in its tracks comes down to awareness and proactive security habits:
- Enable two-factor authentication – Adding an extra login step like a code sent to your phone prevents a password alone from granting account access.
- Ignore unsolicited messages – Don’t click, reply to, or call in response to any out-of-the-blue messages about your account being disabled.
- Hover over links before clicking – This reveals the actual destination URL to identify shady links pretending to be Facebook.
- Update account recovery contacts – Designate a trusted secondary email and phone number in case you ever do get locked out for real.
- Use unique passwords – Having distinct passwords across all accounts restricts damage if one password becomes compromised.
- Limit account connections – Don’t connect new apps or services via Facebook unless you fully understand why it needs access. Disconnect any unfamiliar services already linked.
- Review privacy settings – Adjust your profile, posts, and friend list visibility settings to limit what scammers can access if they took over the account.
- Report spam. – Use Facebook’s tools to report any suspicious messages so they can be removed and traced.
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 “Your Facebook Account will be Deactivated” Scam
This Facebook scam triggers many questions for users who encounter concerning messages about account deactivation. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions to help you avoid falling victim.
What is the “Your Facebook Account will be Deactivated” scam?
This is a phishing scam where users receive fake warning messages stating their Facebook account is at risk of being disabled or deleted due to policy violations. The messages urge users to urgently click on links or call phone numbers to verify or secure their accounts. However, it is a fraudulent attempt to steal login credentials and account access.
How does the Facebook deactivation scam work?
Scammers distribute mass messages via Facebook itself or other channels like email or texts. The messages press recipients to urgently act by clicking links to fake Facebook help sites or calling provided numbers. If users comply, any information they then provide goes to the scammers rather than Facebook.
What’s the goal behind this Facebook scam?
The scammers aim to hijack user accounts in order to post spam, spread more scam messages, steal personal information, or take over linked accounts like email or financial accounts.
What are examples of messages used in this scam?
Typical subject lines say things like “Alert: Your account will be deactivated” or “Last chance to secure your account.” The messages cite reasons like suspicious activity, inappropriate posts, too many friends added, copyright violations, etc.
How can I spot this Facebook deactivation scam?
Signs include creating urgency, poor grammar/spelling, requests for login details, dubious links to unrelated sites, unknown sender. Real Facebook warnings provide more time and won’t demand immediate personal info.
What should I do if I got a message about Facebook disabling my account?
Do not click, reply to, or call anyone from messages about deactivating your Facebook account. Ignore the message. Use Facebook’s official help forms to report suspicious messages. Check your account for any unauthorized changes already made.
How can I report suspicious Facebook messages?
You can report concerning messages as spam or abusive content directly to Facebook. Click the … icon on any message > Report… > Follow prompts to flag the issue so Facebook can investigate.
How do I secure my real Facebook account?
Activate two-factor authentication, use unique passwords, limit connected apps, maintain updated recovery contacts, review privacy settings. This limits damage if scammers got any account details already.
I clicked a link in the scam message – what now?
If you clicked any links, change your Facebook password immediately. Scan all devices used to access Facebook for any signs of malware or viruses downloaded from the scammer link and delete them. Review your account activity for unauthorized changes. Notify contacts in case their accounts are now compromised as well. Monitor financial statements closely for any fraudulent charges.
This FAQ provides the must-know details about the “Your Facebook Account will be Deactivated” phishing scam to help users confidently avoid and report these fraudulent messages. Be wary of any out-of-character warnings about your account being disabled.
The Bottom Line
The “Your Facebook Account will be Deactivated” scam preys on people’s fear of losing their precious accounts. By sending alarming but phony warning messages, scammers trick users into handing over login credentials or enabling account access. Account hijacking, identity theft, and malware installation can follow if you fall for this scam.
Remain vigilant for any out-of-the-blue deactivation warnings and avoid acting in haste if you receive one. Only ever provide personal information directly through Facebook’s official website or app. Enacting proactive security measures like two-factor authentication is also critical. With proper awareness and caution taken, you can protect your Facebook presence and personal information from compromise through this scam.