It is not surprising that scam artists are the only criminals that we refer to as artists. Some of their scams are truly ingenious. Today’s scam starts when you receive a text message from Google with a verification code. Immediately thereafter and before you can even respond to the first text message, you receive a second text message that states, “Google has detected unusual activity on your account. Please reply with the verification code sent to your mobile device to stop unauthorized activity.” Many people have been merely following those directions and promptly send the verification code they just received. However, by doing so, the victim has just turned over his or her gmail account to a scammer who can scour the account for information to be used for identity theft purposes.
What actually went on was that a hacker with the victim’s email address and cell phone number went to login on the victim’s gmail account and clicked on the “Forgot password” link prompting a verification code to be sent to the victim’s cell phone. Immediately thereafter the hacker sent the original message that appears above pretending that he or she is Google so when the victim responds by sending the verification code, he or she is actually sending it to the hacker who then uses it to access the victim’s gmail account.
Never send a verification code to anyone through an email or a text message. The only place you should use a verification code is when you login online. If like the victim of this scam, you receive a verification code sent to you on your cell phone that you did not request, notify your email provider because that is an indication that someone is trying to hack into your account.