- If you are looking to sell anything online, you should be aware of the Google Voice scam. Scammers are posing as interested buyers on online marketplaces and are trying to steal your personal information to create a fake Google Voice account in your name.
- The criminals act like interested buyers and try to convince you to share your Google verification code with them. They use the verification code to create the fraudulent Google Voice account in your name that is used to scam others.
- The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) is also receiving reports from victims who claim to not have a Google Voice account. In this scenario, scammers set up a Google Voice account and link it to the phone number of the person they call so they can create a fake post selling the same items as a legitimate seller.
- To completely avoid a Google Voice verification scam, only do business in-person with verified funds. Take your time while selling items online. If someone asks you to share a Google verification code with them, don’t do it.
- If you fall victim to a Google Voice scam, you should reclaim your number. Click here to learn more.
- For more information on the Google Voice verification scam, or if you believe you are a victim, contact the ITRC at no cost by phone (888.400.5530) or live-chat on the company website www.idtheftcenter.org.
Are you trying to sell items online? If so, you should be aware of the latest Google Voice scam, a scam that hijacks people’s phone numbers to trick others. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) is seeing a large rise in the scam. Of the 1,824 victim cases the ITRC received in August, 49 percent of them were Google Voice scams.
The Better Business Bureau reports that identity criminals are stealing phone numbers from people selling items online (like the Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist), getting their Google verification codes, and creating new Google Voice phone numbers tied to the victim. Identity criminals are even targeting people who don’t have a Google Voice account.
While selling items online has its perks, it has its risks, too. If you are looking to sell online, it is vital you are aware of the scam. Even if you are not, you should know what to do if you encounter it.
Who are the Targets?
People posting or selling items online
What is the Scam?
Scammers look for people selling items online and then message them as if they are an interested buyer. The criminals proceed to have a Google verification code sent to the seller. They then ask the seller to share the code to verify that they are a real seller. However, it is a Google Voice scam, and the scammer is looking for the victim to share the code with them so they can use it to create a new Google Voice phone number tied to the seller. They then proceed to scam other people using the victim’s name while remaining undetected.
The ITRC has also received reports from victims who claim to not have a Google Voice account. In this scenario, scammers set up a Google Voice account. They then link it to the phone number of the person they call. Finally, they create a fake post selling the same items as a legitimate seller.
What They Want
Scammers are after your Google Voice phone number and information so they can create another Google Voice account in your name to scam other people with it.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
- When possible, only do business in person paid in verified funds.
- Take your time while selling online. If someone asks you to share a Google verification code with them, don’t do it (which is instructed by Google) because it is likely a Google Voice scam.
What to do if You’ve Given Away Your Code
- If you do fall victim to the Google Voice verification scam, you should reclaim your number.
- Sign in to voice.google.com and click Settings in the top right corner. Under Linked number, click New linked number.
- Proceed to enter the phone number to link and verify the number. If you are on a mobile device, click Send code, and Google Voice sends the code in a text message to the phone.
- If it’s a landline number, click the Verify by phone link, and then click Call. Google Voice calls the phone number and gives the code. Enter the code and click Verify.
- Once you click Claim, the number is linked with your account again.
- For more information on steps to take to reclaim your number, click here.
If you have additional questions about the Google Voice scam, believe you were a victim of the scam, or are a victim of identity theft, contact us. Speak with an ITRC expert advisor toll-free by phone (888.400.5530) or live-chat on the company website. Just visit www.idtheftcenter.org to get started.
The post was originally published on 7/14/21 and was updated on 9/28/21