If someone were to ask you to verify your identity while you were engaging with them online, you might feel some level of comfort that you’re dealing with a real person that’s just as cautious as you are, right? Wrong. That’s exactly what a scammer wants you to think.
This article explains tactic used to steal your identity.
Let’s say you’re selling something online, such as the Facebook Marketplace.
A potential buyer reaches out interested in the item.
During the exchange they come up with a reason why they need your phone number. They’re busy, confused, driving, or have questions and it’s hard too type, etc.
It sounds legit so you provide your number.
The buyer (aka scammer) replies with “Great, I’d like to make sure you’re a real person, can you send me the code you receive on your phone.”
Not long after you may receive a text or email with a code from Google (or another platform) with a message similar to one of the following:
G-123456 is your Google Verification code.
123456 us is your Google Voice Verification code. Don’t share it with anyone else. <<url>>
WARNING: IF YOU SHARE THAT CODE…
That person will then use the code to pursue claiming your identity, so that they can perform for fraudulent activity—most likely by pretending to be you, scamming and spoofing others.
HOW IT WORKS:
Google allows users to set up a Google Voice account or virtual phone number as another way for users to stay connected on devices, using Wi-Fi and Google apps for calling.
With the use of any phone number a google account can be set up. The scammer simply provides your phone number as a verification tool. When you provide the verification code to the scammer and they use it, it will appear as “proof” that the device and number belong to them.
Once it’s verified, they can continue establishing themselves as you, either to solicit to your friends and family as a way to get money, or to scam and spoof other audiences using your number.
Unfortunately, once this has been established, the calls can be untraceable. Yet your contact information will be linked to all of the activity.
SIMILAR SCAMS WITH CODES:
This tactic isn’t only limited to selling items on Facebook Marketplace, or verification codes with the Google platform.
If you have a flyer searching for a lost pet or offering services, a classified on Craigslist, or something similar and your number or email is included, a scammer might reach out and go through the same verification process to gain your information.
Even Two-Factor authentication—designed to be an extra layer of security when you login—has been hacked and connected to scams and breaches similar to these.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
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