How to fix Google Voice scam?

by Julie Splinters - -

Question

Issue: How to fix Google Voice scam?

Hello. Please help me, as I think I got scammed. I placed an ad online trying to sell an item, and I got a text message saying that the person was interested in it. Then they told me to enter a six-digit code I got texted from another user, so I did. The person claimed it is needed so that he would know I am real. I never got another message again, and I believe that my phone number is now used by scammers on Google Voice, as I got a notification about it. Should I be worried? Please help me.

Solved Answer

Google Voice scam is a fraudulent activity carried out by scammers who hijack a victim's phone number and create a Google Voice account, which subsequently allows them to scam other people and remain undetected. Since 2019 the topic on Reddit related to this scam does not go silent. Otherwise known as Google Voice Code Verification scam[1], this phony can be initiated for anyone who posts a phone number publicly on the Internet. Scammers then call for a potential victim responding to the advertisement shared online and ask to prove not being a bot or invent other misleading stories. Bad actors ask claims that the victim will receive a message or a call with a six-digit number, which has further be sent to the supposed clients. Disclosed a code – the number hijacked. 

Illustrating Google Voice scam

The Google Voice scam is usually associated with Craigslist[2] – an American advertising website, which features categories for jobs, housing, services, items for sale, items wanted, discussion forums, and others. Most of the posts or ads positioned on this site contain the author's phone number, which can be seen publicly. Consequently, scammers can try to scam any user of this platform. It's important to stress the fact that Craigslist does not initiate calls for registered users to verify their ads or comments. It's nothing else but a craigslist verification code scam. 

One may consider why this scam technique is so successful. Since many people are asking questions like what is a google voice verification code or what Google Voice means, the scale of people with their phone numbers hijacked will hardly fall.  Shortly, Google Voice[3] is a communication program that assigns you with a specific number. However, to activate it, you need to have a personal phone number. A six-digit code is usually sent to the user, and he or she needs to enter it to finalize the registration process. In such a way, the calls made to you via Google Voice can be forwarded to your personal phone, so you never miss them. All in all, it is a communication service that is comfortable and free to use.

Google Voice scam relates to malicious actors getting the six-digit code from the user and creating a new account. Now, the purpose of such a scam might be different; for example, it can be used to scam other people. Therefore, it is vital to fix Google Voice Scam and reclaim the number as soon as possible.

How to fix Google Voice scam?

The scam works in the following scheme:

  1. A user puts up the phone number on a public website (most of the victims claimed they shared the number on Craigslist,[4] so some people might refer to this scam as Google Voice Craigslist scam).
  2. Crooks contact the user via the provided phone number, pretending to be interested in the ad.
  3. They then ask the user to provide the code that is sent to them from Google (which they don't know about initially, as crooks provide some excuse about it, such as that they use special phone that they need to verify, etc.)
  4. The verification code is then being used to finalize the account, and Google Voice scam is complete.

Users will never hear from these people again, although they cannot use Google Voice because their forwarding number is deleted. Here's the message:

Please note that the forwarding number (XXX) XXX-XXXX was deleted from your Google Voice account ([email protected]) 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.

If you were the victim of Google Voice scam, you should take your personal number back, even if you are not a user of Google Voice. In such a case, please follow the instructions below on how to create an account, and then reclaim the number.

Step 1. Create Google Voice account (if don't own one)

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  1. Visit the official Google Voice website – https://voice.google.com/about 
  2. Click on For personal useCreate Google Voice account
  3. Pick the platform – Android, iOS or Web
  4. Create a Google account or log in to the existing one
  5. Press ContinueEnter Google account credentials

Step 2. Use the verification code on an alternative number

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Now is the crucial part. You need to make sure you do NOT provide the number that scammers stole from you. Instead, ask somebody you know to use their phone number. Any number will work as long as it was never used to create a Google Voice account. You can remove the number later after you reclaim the stolen number without any problems.

As soon as you receive the six-digit code, you can enter it into the required field. This will finalize the registration.

Step 3. Retrieve your phone number

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  1. As soon as you log in to the account, click on the Add another phone or New linked numberAdd a new number
  2. Enter the stolen number (your own number) that scammer used
  3. You should get a warning that the number is currently in use by another account
  4. Confirm with Yes when you are asked if you want to reclaim it. If you do not get such a warning, it means that scammers are no longer using your number, and you should simply ignore the message

These steps should help you fix the Google Voice scam issue, and will make sure that your number is not used for whatever malicious deeds scammers come up with. On the side note, please never send any verification codes to unknown individuals, no matter what excuse they provide you with.

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About the author
Julie Splinters - Computer optimization specialist

When it comes to computer optimization, Julie Splinters is the expert. Whether it is a slow smartphone, Windows, Mac or Linux operating system, she will find a solution within minutes.

Contact Julie Splinters
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