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FBI warns of Google Voice authentication scams
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Security & privacy

This Google Voice scam is so bad the FBI put out a warning

Robocalls, scam calls, sales pitches are annoying and enough to make you stop answering your phone. The thing is, by the time you start getting inundated with these types of calls, it’s too late to do much about it.

If only you had another number to use that will keep your primary number from being spread out. Google Voice does this and more, and you can even keep your old number if you want. Tap or click here to check out more benefits of Google Voice.

This service is a great way to keep your number private, but it can be used against you. It’s been at the center of some recent scams and has caught the FBI’s attention. Read on for more information and tips on avoiding falling victim.

A listener calls in

Last year, a member of Kim Komando’s audience called in with a story about being targeted by a scammer. The caller sells products on Facebook Marketplace and was asked for his number.

He didn’t fall for the ruse, which involved a scammer trying to use his number to create their own Google Voice account. If someone uses your actual number to create a Google Voice account, you’ll get a verification code. If you hand it over, the scammer will have an account linked to your number.

Still a problem

Google Voice-related scams go beyond online marketplaces. The FBI posted a bulletin warning about the same scam that Kim’s listener experienced.

In fact, scams like this are no longer just hitting marketplaces. Sites where people post their info are giving scammers plenty of ammunition. Some examples are when people post about their lost pets or a room for rent.

Whatever you do, follow these tips to stay safe:

  • Never share Google Voice verification codes with anyone.
  • Don’t give out your email address to buyers/sellers conducting business via phone.
  • If you feel pressured or rushed when buying or seelling items, cut off contact and move on.
  • If you fall victim to a scam or are suspicious of someone’s motives, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center at 888-400-5530 or chat with a representative at idtheftcenter.org. You should also report the scam to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

If you were tricked, it’s not too late to fix it

Google Voice only allows one account per phone number, so you can reclaim your Voice number if someone else gets it:

  • Go to voice.google.com on your computer.
  • Click the settings gear icon in the top-right corner.
  • Click New linked number under Linked numbers.
  • Enter your phone number.
  • Click Send code to get a six-digit number sent to your mobile phone. If your landline number was stolen, click verify by phone, then call.
  • Enter the code and click Verify.
  • Click Claim.

Keep reading

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