Looking For “Facebook Customer Service” Online? Don’t Call This Scammy Number

Image courtesy of via NPR

When it comes to customer service, Facebook is notoriously difficult deal with, which is why people go searching on Google and elsewhere for any sort of reliable contact information for the site. But beware: There’s a scammy phone number lurking on the internet, passing itself off as “Facebook customer service.”

NPR’s All Tech Considered says plugging that phrase into a search engine brought up a top search with a phone number suggested: 844-735-4595. If you call it, you may get a human being on the line — but not anyone affiliated with Facebook.

When NPR gave the phone number to a company called Pindrop, which specializes in phone fraud, a researcher called the number and was connected to a call center operator named “Steven” in India, who was posing as a Facebook employee.

The researcher played along and said he was locked out of his Facebook account and needs help getting back in, so “Steven” tells him to go to Walmart or Target.

Wait, what?

“Just walk up over there and tell them to provide you an iTunes card,” Steven told the researcher. “OK? And on the backside of that iTunes card there would be a 16-digit security code.”

He then directed the researcher to call back on the same phone number and hand over the 16-digit security code in order to get a new password for the account.

If alarm bells aren’t ringing in your head yet, they should be: Facebook will never ask you to buy an iTunes gift card to regain access to your account — no legitimate social media company would do this, either.

As the Federal Trade Commission puts it, “If you’re not shopping at the iTunes store, you shouldn’t be paying with an iTunes gift card.” The same goes for Amazon gift cards, PayPal, reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit, or Vanilla, or by wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram.

(If you spot a scam like this, you can file a complaint with the FTC.)

Facebook tells NPR that it’s been investigating the group associated with this toll-free number for some time and that it’s been targeting many platforms, not just Facebook, but that it’ up to search engines like Google to decide which search results to display.

To that end, a Google spokesperson said in a statement to NPR that the company has taken steps to remove the fraudulent number. Indeed, when we tried performing the same search, the scammy number wasn’t included in the results.

Need to contact Facebook for real? The only way is to go through the company’s online help portal.