Police Warn About A New Scam Involving “Verification Codes”
According to WMTW, people who post their phone numbers in online forums (like Facebook Marketplace) could fall victim to a fairly new scam.
The scam involves using Google Phone to hijack someone's phone number.
How The Scam Works
The scammer finds their target on an online forum like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Reddit. Basically, anywhere that you have used your phone number. They reach out to the target and, under the guise they are concerned about scammers, tell you they will send you a verification code that needs to be sent back to them. They tell the target it will prove to them that they (the target) are not a scammer. Wanting to make the sale, the target sends them the code that was just texted to them.
But, how does that lead to you being scammed? Well, a text verification code is a fairly common way businesses and services verify account holders when they are attempting to gain access to an account they have lost the password for. In reality, it is not the scammer sending the verification code to the target. It is the service sending the code after the scammer made request to sign up for the service (or made a request that the password be reset. When you send the code back to them, they can use it to access the account.
According to LimaOhio.com, it is commonly done when someone wants to hijack your phone number for use with a Google Phone account. They can then use your phone number to do all kinds of illegal activities. However, providing the scammer has enough additional information, the technique could be used to gain access to all sorts of accounts.
How Do You Protect Yourself?
Never send verification codes to people who supposedly send them to your phone. Also, take advantage of the anonymity systems built into these web forums. Like Craigslist's anonymous email system.
NOTE: Please do not use the above information to scam people or participate in other illegal activities.
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