Do you sell items online using Craigslist or another online marketplace? Watch out for a new scam that attempts to use your phone number from the ad to scam others.
Here’s how it works: The scammer contacts you about the item for sale and says something like, “There are lots of scammers on Craigslist these days. I need to make sure you’re really who you say you are, so I just sent you a six-digit verification code on your phone. Text me the code to prove you’re a real person.”
If you send the code back, the scammer uses the code (which was actually generated by Google) and your phone number to set up a new Google Voice account. (They need a valid, working phone number to do this.) They’ll then use this new account that’s linked to your phone number to call or text future scam victims.
This is typically not a scam that will cost you money or cause direct harm. The scammers’ usual goal is to merely use your phone number as a “verification number” to get additional Google Voice numbers, use it for other scams, get rid of those numbers once they’re used to scam victims, then repeat the scam over and over.
To prevent being involved in this scam, do not enter any six-digit codes on calls or texts from Google unless you are the one who initiated the process and requested your number to be used on your Google Voice account.
If you’ve already become a victim of the Google Voice Code Verification Scam, you need to take back your personal number. The process includes several steps, which can be found here.