Privacy and Security

Don’t Send that Code!

Beware of Facebook “social engineering” hackers

Holly Jahangiri
5 min readOct 14, 2022


Screenshot by Author, All Codes Obfuscated and Expired

Everyone’s Fallen on Hard Times

A real-life, face-to-face friend’s messenger account has been hacked. Well and truly hacked, not just “impersonated.” I am chatting with them now — but the last time I talked to this friend online was about a year ago, and they would never ask me for “$200 until tomorrow” with gushing promises to pay me back.

Hot tip #1: If you don’t know your online friend well enough to know beyond all doubt that such a request is coming from them — because it is worded in a way they would word it to you specifically, or that you have some shared experience they could relate to you to confirm their identity — just report and block them. They’ve been hacked. Friends don’t just randomly request money from friends via Messenger. I’d be about the last person this friend would have asked for $200.

While we’re at it, I’ve chatted with hackers claiming to be friends who are “stranded in Paris after being mugged and spending the night in jail” who needed me to bail them out and send them plane tickets. Got a good laugh out of that one — I was talking to the real friend at the same time, in email, while we reported the hack and got the scammer shut down. This friend had plenty of people to reach out to, if they were stranded penniless and without access to their clothes — I’d have been at the very bottom of that list. Ten years later, we still giggle over that one.

Back to this morning’s wannabe “hacker” — I told them to ask another mutual friend who is also a neighbor of theirs, if they were in urgent need of a loan. He’s kind of tech savvy, so they should ask face-to-face, because there’s no way he’d give them money over the internet. They said okay.

Screenshot by Author, Snippet of Actual Conversation with a “Hacker”

Well, Pleas for Money Didn’t Work, So…

Moving on, they told me they got themselves locked out of their Facebook account and asked me to “help recover it” (of course Facebook’s not going to send a recovery code to someone — even a…