How to fix the Google Voice scam?

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Question

Problem: How to fix Google Voice scam?

Hello. Please help as I think I have been scammed. I placed an ad online trying to sell a product and a message appeared saying that a person was interested. Then they told me to insert a 6-digit code that other users would send me, so I did. The person stated that it was necessary to know that I was real. I never got another message again and I think my phone number is now being used by scammers on Google Voice as I get a notification about it. Should I be worried? Please help.

Resolved answer

The Google Voice scam is a fraudulent activity run by scammers who hack the victim’s phone number and create a Google Voice account, allowing them to scam other people and remain undetected. Since 2019, the topic on Reddit related to this scam does not stop being active. Otherwise known as a Google Voice Code Verification scam, this charade can be started by anyone who posts a phone number publicly on the Internet. Scammers call potential victims by responding with shared online advertising and ask them to prove they are not a bot or make up other false stories. The bad actors tell the victim that they will receive a message or a call with a six-digit number, which has to be sent by supposed clients. Once the code is broken down – the phone number is hacked.

The Google Voice scam is usually associated with Craigslist – an American advertising website, the main features of which are categories by job, houses, services, products for sale, wanted products, discussion forums and others. Most of the publications or advertisements positioned on the site contain the author’s phone number, which can be seen publicly. Consequently, scammers try to scam any user on this platform. It is important to highlight the fact that Craigslist does not initiate calls to registered users to verify ads or comments. It is nothing more than a verification scam code.

One must consider why this scam technique is so successful. Since many people ask questions like what is the google voice verification code or what does Google Voice mean, the scale of people with hacked phone numbers will hardly be reduced. In short, Google Voice is a communication program that assigns you 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 needs to be entered to complete the registration process. In this way, the calls you make through Google Voice can be forwarded to your personal phone, so you will never miss them. With all this, it is a communication service that is easy to use and comfortable.

The Google Voice scam is related to malicious actors who obtain the user’s six-digit code and create a new account. Now, the purpose of this scam may be different; for example it can be used by other people. Therefore, it is vital to fix the Google Voice scam and claim the number as soon as possible.

How to fix Google Voice scam?

The scam works with the following scheme:

  1. A user posts the phone number on a public web page (most of the victims stated that they shared the phone on Craigslist, so other people may refer to this scam as Craigslist Google Voice scam).
  2. The thieves contact the user through the provided phone number, pretending to be interested in the ad.
  3. Then they ask the user to provide the code that is sent from Google (which they do not know initially, since the thieves provide some excuses about it, such as that they have to use a special phone that they need to verify).
  4. The verification code is then used to terminate the account, and the Google Voice scam is complete.

Users will never hear from these people again, although they cannot use Google Voice because their number has been removed. Here is the message:

Please note that the forwarding number (XXX) XXX-XXXX was deleted from your Google Voice account (XXX@gmail.com) 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 a victim of the Google Voice scam, you should worry about getting your personal number back, even if you are not a Google Voice user. In that case, please follow the instructions below to find out how to create an account and then claim the number.

Step 1. Create a Google Voice account (if you don’t have one)

  1. Visit the official Google Voice page – https://voice.google.com/about
  2. Click on Personal use onlyCreate Google Voice account
  3. Choose the platform – Android, iOS or Web
  4. Create a Google account or log in with an existing one
  5. Tap on ContinueEnter Google account credentials

Step 2. Use the verification code on an alternate number

Now is the crucial part. You need to make sure that you DO NOT provide the number that the scammers have stolen from you. Instead, ask someone you know to use their phone number. Any number will work as long as it has never been used to create a Google Voice account. You can then delete the number after claiming the stolen number without any problem.

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

Step 3. Retrieve your phone number

  1. As soon as you log into your account, click Add another phone or Pair new phoneAdd a new number
  2. Enter the number stolen (your own number) by the scammer
  3. You should get an alert that your number is currently being used by another account
  4. Confirm with Yes when asked if you want to claim it. If you don’t get that alert, it means that the scammers are no longer using your phone, so you should simply ignore the message.

These steps will help you troubleshoot the Google Voice scam, and ensure that your phone is not used for anything malicious that scammers want. As a side note, please never send any verification code to strangers, no matter what excuse they give you.

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