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The Google Voice scam: How this verification code scam works and how to avoid it

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It’s Cyber Security Awareness month, so the tricks scammers use to steal our personal information are on our minds. If there’s one constant among scammers, it’s that they’re always coming up with new schemes, like the Google Voice verification scam. Have you heard about it? Here’s how it works.

Scammers target people who post things for sale on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. They also prey on people who post looking for help finding their lost pet.

The scammers contact you and say they want to buy the item you’re selling — or that they found your pet. But before they commit to buying your item, or returning your pet, they feign hesitation. They might say they’ve heard about fake online listings and want to verify that you’re a real person. Or they might say they want to verify that you’re the pet’s true owner.

They send you a text message with a Google Voice verification code and ask you for that code. If you give them the verification code, they’ll try to use it to create a Google Voice number linked to your phone number. (Google Voice gives you a phone number that you can use to make calls or send text messages from a web browser or a mobile device.)

So, what’s the harm? The scammer might use that number to rip off other people and conceal their identity. Sometimes these scammers are after a Google Voice verification code and other information about you. If they get enough of your information, they could pretend to be you to access your accounts or open new accounts in your name.

If you gave someone a Google Voice verification code follow these steps from Google to reclaim your number.

No matter what the story is, don’t share your Google Voice verification code — or any verification code — with someone if you didn’t contact them first. That’s a scam, every time. Report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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Scam Tags:  Phishing Scams

Comments

Thanks for the consumer protection emails. They are always informative. I fell for this scam once. It is frustrating because no matter how insignificant a theft, it can have larger impacts. I keep id theft monitoring, have minimum purchase contact on all bank accounts and credit cards, have had to freeze my credit bureau accounts for a year, and in general do what ever damage control when something happens. It takes time and effort and aggravation, but sometimes it costs money. Currently, I have people contacting from different states me asking why there is a recurring charge from my business. I do not bill or charge. The charges are always small and go unnoticed for some time before someone calls. It appears to be a foreign actor registering in different states and then using other businesses contact info. I don't know how to flush it out so I just tell people to report it as fraud.

stop the scam and help other know yo uare working to get it done thank you.

Hadn't heard of this one, good Lord what will they think of next?!? Thank you!

My son and I got the AT&T message. I think I knew about it because of this site. Not sure because I read a whole lot.
Neither one of us clicked on it. I blocked it because I knew that
AT&T just doesn't send you messages. Thanks for the heads up on this one.

Useful

I may be a senior citizen, but I am highly educated and skeptical of any scam, to the point I block or immediately delete suspect emails, texts or voicemail messages. Just today, some scammer tried the Google verification code scam, unsuccessfully I might add.

I get hit with plenty of these scams on a regular. Not sure why but here are a few they hit my cell phone with in text..so Beware

1. SUPP0RT NOTlCE REMlNDER: You wiII now be getting $1k/wk additionaI benfits as 0f 11/01. Please rep|y "BEGIN" to begin weekIy, deposits

2. Shipping Notice: Your order, is arriving later today. Follow it on the map, and get updates by repIying, "1105"

3. State Notice: You'lI now be receiving $1k/week additional benefits as of 11/1. RepIy "STATE" to start weekIy, payments

4. Every person with an active drivers-Iicense in your city is getting a $8,571 on 10/31. To reserve yours repIy "1031"

5. A C0URT has just lssued you a $187,851 payout ln your name. RepIy with "COURT" to receive lt

6. We stilI need, 8 onIine workers at $5k/week for 6 weeks. To start Monday repIy with "WORKERS" by, today

7.As a driver, w/ no vioIations your 8,693 doIlar safety B0NUS is on the way! Confrm by repIying with "OCT26"

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