Google Verification Code Scam and Phone Number Hijack

Google Verification Code Scam  and Phone Number Hijack

The Google Verification scam is a fraudulent activity that hijacks your phone number. A scammer creates a Google Voice account in your name and 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 the Google Verification Scam Works?

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.”

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Google Verification Code Scam and Phone Number Hijack