Police are advising Facebook users to watch out for a scam that tricks people into hacking into their own accounts.

The hoax works by telling people that following a series of instructions will guarantee them access to anybody’s account.

It tells victims to open up Facebook in a web browser and go to the Facebook page of the person they want to hack. Then, it says, the user should right-click anywhere on the page and from the popup menu select “Inspect Element”. This brings up an HTML editor at the bottom half of the web browser.

In this editor, the scam instructs readers to copy-paste a string of code given.

But far from giving the user access to another account, following the guidance merely provides the scammers with all the details they need to access the would-be hacker’s account.

Once the fraudsters are in control of a user’s account, they can use it to post more fake instructions, or launch new scams.

Facebook has warned users not to paste any strange code into browsers.

“If you see this kind of scam on Facebook, you should report it by clicking the arrow in the upper-right corner of the post and selecting ‘This is Spam.’

“If you have fallen victim to this scam, you should contact Facebook immediately and consider changing your password.”