Scammers have become increasingly cunning over the past years. No matter what solutions cyber security experts develop to detect and keep them at bay, they always seem to find new avenues to con people. One of the latest technologies scammers have managed to leverage is Google Voice through the system’s code verification process. Learn more about this scam and how you can avoid it.
What Is the Google Voice Verification System?
This system is used to generate codes. Google Voice verification codes are used for Google Voice which is a telephone service that provides different options such as text messages, voicemail, or call forwarding. The codes generated as part of the verification process enable users to access their Google Voice accounts. This is an additional layer of security for Google’s telephone service. Its purpose is to reassure clients that only they and the people they authorize can access their account. In the end, the whole process revolves around the necessity to protect customers’ private information such as their telephone numbers, names, and addresses.
Verification codes are mandatory in order to activate Google Voice accounts. If you want to sign up for Google’s telephone service, you need to receive and enter a code. If you already use your account and you want to add a new phone, a verification code is once again necessary. Using your Google Voice account on more than one device, changing your password, and several other actions also require the use of verification codes.
How Do Scammers Use Google Voice Verification?
Scammers often manage to hijack other people’s Google Voice accounts and then use them for ill-intentioned activities. They typically do this to people who have posted their phone numbers online. Most victims are people who sell products on the internet or advertise their services. Scammers approach these people by calling them and pretending to be interested in their offer. However, they also say they need to verify if the seller is a real person.
To do this, they send the person a text message containing a Google Verification code. Then, they ask the person to send them the code back. Those who send the code basically enable scammers to create a new Google Voice number linked to their number. Equipped with this new account, scammers can carry out fraudulent activities to rip off people. They can also use the account to find out further information about its user and impersonate them.
Finding out that your Google Voice account has been hacked is not difficult as Google has set in place a mechanism that warns users of this occurrence.
If your account is hijacked, you will receive a message from Google informing you that a forwarding number was deleted from your account because it was claimed and verified by someone else who uses their service. Then, you are given the possibility to keep that forwarding number on your account if you believe it was an error. If you have no reason to fear because you know about that operation, you can simply ignore the message. However, if you haven’t authorized any such operation and Google’s message takes you by surprise, you’ve probably become the victim of a Google Verification scam. In this case, you should claim your number back to prevent scammers from using it for any unlawful purposes.
How to Recover Your Stolen Google Voice Number?
If you have been the victim of a Google Voice verification scam, you are encouraged to report the event to the Federal Trade Commission immediately. But before you do that, you would naturally first want to reclaim your number. For this, you need to go to Google Voice’s official website. Here, you have to create a new account.
To sign up for that account, you should use another number, not the one that was stolen. This number has to be unique, so it should have never been linked to another Google Voice account. After you manage to log into the new account, access the Settings section. Go to your Account and click on Linked numbers (or Devices and numbers for Android, iPad, or iPhone devices), and select New linked number. Then, enter the old number that was stolen and verify it with the verification code you receive.
If anyone is still using your number, a message will appear saying that the number is currently used by another account. Then, you need to click on Yes for confirmation and you will be able to get your number back.
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