BBB warns of new Google Voice scam
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The Better Business Bureau is warning Southwest Louisiana residents of a new scam targeting people who post items for sale on sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Scammers have also been targeting people who are using these sites to find a lost pet.
How the scam works
The scammers will attempt to contact individuals when they post an item for sale or who are looking for their pet. But they will say that before they commit to buying the item or returning the pet, they want to make sure you are a real person or that you are the pet’s true owner.
The scammer will ask for your phone number so that they can text you a verification code. They will then instruct you to send the 6-digit code to them on the site you’re using.
While this might sound reasonable the scammer is actually setting up a Google Voice number that is linked to your phone. By sending the verification code to them the scammer is able to complete the account setup. Then, the scammer uses your number to rip off other people and conceal their identities. Additionally, if a scammer gets your Google Voice verification code and other information about you, they can pretend to be you and open new accounts in your name.
How to avoid online marketplace scams
Guard your personal information. You don’t need to give someone your phone number to make a sale on an online marketplace. Be sure you know who you are speaking with before you share it. Never give out your phone number in public social media posts.
Watch out for red flags. Avoid making transactions with people who offer you deals that sound too good to be true (i.e., overpaying for an item you listed for sale) or people who pressure you to make a deal quickly.
Understand marketplace policies. Most online marketplaces encourage you NOT to make transactions outside of the platform. If someone asks you to carry out transactions elsewhere, be wary. Understand how the platform you use verifies both sellers and buyers, and stick to their guidelines when selling and buying items.
Report suspicious activity
You can report suspicious activity to marketplace platforms and to BBB using their Scam Tracker. Even if you didn’t fall victim to the scam, your experience could help others to stay vigilant.
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