TikTok star Krystal Lewis reported falling for the scam earlier this year (Credit: Itskrystalewis)
With Christmas approaching, there seems to be an increase in the number of scams people are falling for.
Scammers seem to have found a way to dupe people on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist using Google Voice.
In July, one frustrated TikTok user revealed how she was scammed while trying to sell something on Facebook Marketplace.
TikTok user Krystal Lewis (@itskrystalewis) revealed to her 60.2k followers how someone who seemed like a woman her age reached out to buy a table she was selling on Facebook Marketplace.
The apparent scammer told Lewis to text her so they could arrange a time to meet.
Krystal says she fell for the scam completely (Credit: Itskrystalewis)
On text, the woman wanted Lewis to send her a code on Facebook that she should send back to her on text to confirm that she was a real person.
‘I fell right for it thinking it was smart for someone of our age to generate a code and do something like that,’ said Lewis in her TikTok that now has 2.2 million views.
What the scammer wanted was to verify was from Google Voice which they could use to claim Lewis’ phone number. They can then use it to call other people either impersonating Lewis or just disguising themselves as another number.
Scammers have found a way to dupe people on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist using Google Voice. (Credit: itskrystalewis)
‘Please watch out for it and never trust a Google Voice verification number,’ said the TikToker.
The dodgy scam has been circulating for years and regularly preys on WhatsApp users by getting around two-factor authentication.
The best idea would be to ignore any such messages or texts asking you to verify a code sent to you unless it’s from a trusted source.
You could also invest in a physical authenticator, which you can attach to your keyring to generate codes. That way, you’re less likely to be fooled into handing the code over to a scam artist.
This particular trick has been used by scammers in the past to target people who post things for sale on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. They also prey on people who post looking for help finding a lost pet.
How the Google Voice scam works
Google Voice gives you a phone number that you can use to make calls or send text messages from a web browser or a mobile device.
How it usually goes is, the scammers contact you and say they want to buy the item you’re selling or that they found your pet. But before committing to buying your item or returning your pet, they feign hesitation.
They might say they wanted to verify that you’re a real person or that you’re the pet’s true owner.
Then they send you a text message with a Google Voice verification code and ask you for that code. With this verification code, they can create a Google Voice number linked to your phone number.
The scammer might use that number to rip off other people by concealing their identity behind yours. Sometimes if scammers get enough of your information, they could even pretend to be you and access your accounts or open new accounts in your name.
If you gave someone a Google Voice verification code follow these steps from Google to reclaim your number.
This is done by adding your personal phone number to your own existing Google Voice account.
If you don’t have a Google Voice account of your own, you will need to create your own Google Voice account, and add your personal phone number to it as a forwarding phone number.
As a rule, it’s good to remember, never to share your Google Voice verification code or any verification code with someone if you didn’t contact them first.