What worries me though is that after creating my Google voice account, I am seeing on the right-hand side of the screen a list of completely random contacts that are not my own. One of the contacts is simply named "Coke". I'm worried that the scammer's contact list has populated and is now associated in some way with my account. It's really freaking me out and I haven't read about anyone else dealing with this issue.
Google Voice scammers do not scam people to gain access to their Google Voice accounts, instead they use online users' naivety to help them create their own GV accounts. The reason they need you is because Google blocked their own cell numbers as a verification tool for their eligibility.
What Is the Google Voice Scam?
Google Voice Scam is a fraudulent activity when your phone number gets hijacked and a scammer creates a Google Voice account in your name. They will then proceed to scam other people (technically, in your name) while remaining undetected. The scam is also known as the “Google Voice Code Verification” scam and it can victimize anyone who has ever displayed their phone number publicly on the Internet — for instance, when posting an ad. The scammer will then get in touch with the potential victim as if they were responding to the said ad. The scammer will then ask you to (under one pretext or another) to open up a message with a six-digit number. Once you have disclosed the code – your number is hijacked.
How Does the Google Voice Scam Work?
The scam is typically associated with Craigslist, a popular ad website in the United States that features posts about jobs, housing, services, items for sale, wanted items, discussion forums and more. Most of the ads posted on the site to indeed contain a phone number — which is there for everyone to see. Thus, scammers can try to get to someone’s Google Voice Account using this platform. So, a Craigslist user may get a call or message from someone pretending to be working for the site. The user will be asked to verify their number by sending back a verification code. In reality, however, Craigslist does not initiate calls for registered users — neither to verify their ads nor comments.
Here’s how it works:
- A user posts an ad on the Internet and includes their phone number.
- Scammers contact the user using the provided number and pretend they want to know more about the ad.
- They then ask the user to share the code that has been sent to their phone (giving a false reason). The code is, in fact, sent by Google as a verification step for creating a new account.
- They will then use the verification code to finalize creating a Google Voice account.
- The scam victim probably won’t hear from the scammers again — but if they try to open a Google Voice account, they will receive the following message:
“Please note that the forwarding number (XXX) XXX-XXXX was deleted from your Google Voice account ([email address]) because it was claimed and verified by another Google Voice user. If you still want this forwarding number on your account and believe this was an error, please click here to learn more.”