Today’s Scam of the day was sent to me by a Scamicide reader who listed a small item for sale on Craigslist along with his cell phone number for people to contact him. Someone responded to his ad through a text message in which they indicated that they were interested in purchasing the item but wanted to verify that he was a real person by sending a 6 digit code that they would send in a separate text message. The Scamicide reader’s Scamdar (a word I invented to describe when you are suspicious of a scam, similar to radar) was activated and he did not provide the 6 digit code which was a good thing because the person answering the advertisement was indeed a scammer.
The scam involves the Google Voice/Google Phone service which is a free phone number provided to you by Google. Calls to that number are forwarded to your cell phone. In order to set up a Google Phone number you need to provide your phone number for verification purposes. Google then texts or calls you with a 6 digit code that you must enter online to finish the process. The good news is that if you fall for the scam and send the 6 digit code to the scammer, you won’t lose any money, however, you can be sure that a scammer will be using your phone number to perpetrate scams and hide his or her tracks.
If you do fall for the scam, you need to get your personal number back. This is a somewhat complicated process. Here is a link that takes you to the instructions found in the Google Voice Help Forum. https://support.google.com/voice/thread/845902?hl=en
A good rule to remember to avoid this problem is to never enter any 6 digit code on calls or text messages from Google unless you have initiated the process and requested that your number be used for your Google Voice Account.