FBI has issued a warning regarding a new scam utilizing Google voice authentication.
The scam targets people who share their numbers publicly. The scammers are setting up Google Voice accounts in the name of their victims or hijacking their gmail accounts, using these account for phishing attacks or other fraudulent actions.
How Does it Work?
The scammers communicate with their targets, either by text messages or emails. Since the targets are usually people who post online about products or services they sell, the scammers pretend to show interest for those goods and services.
They then claim that they want to verify that the seller is legitimate so that they don’t get scammed. They will say that they will send an authentication code from Google to confirm that the seller is a real person and not some kind of bot.
Once the seller receives the code and gives it to the scammer, he will setup a Google Voice account in the sellers name using the real phone as verification. Once set up, he can use that Google Voice account to conduct any number of scams against other victims that won’t come back directly to him. He can also use that code to gain access to, and take over, gmail accounts.
Avoid Getting Scammed
If you do get scammed, check Google’s website for information on how to take back control of that virtual voice account.
Here are some ways to avoid getting scammed in the first place:
- Never share a Google verification code with others.
- Only deal with buyers, sellers, and Fluffy-finders in person. If money is to exchange hands, make sure you are using legitimate payment processors.
- Don’t give out your email address to buyers/sellers conducting business via phone.
- Don’t let someone rush you into a sale. If they are pressuring you to respond, they are likely trying to manipulate you into acting without thinking.