New scam tries to use your phone number to fleece others

It's a new scam that tries to use your phone number to scam others. If you post your phone number in any public forum, you could be at risk.

An ABC11 viewer discovered the scam in a quest to get rid of baby equipment that he no longer needed. He posted an ad on Craigslist trying to sell a baby swing. It didn't take long for the seller to get requests to buy this swing.

In the first text, the buyer agreed to pay cash, but to make sure the post is not fake, the buyer texted he wanted to send a Google code to the phone number listed on the ad.

When the buyer did this, our ABC11 viewer got these texts from Google phone service, also known as Google Voice. The text included a six-digit code.

Here is where the scam comes in.

If you give the verification code to the buyer as they asked, they use that code along with the phone number you posted in the ad to get their own free Google phone number. With that new number, cyber crooks could use it for illegal activities, and you would never know about it. An even bigger risk, scammers could get access to your Google account if they have enough information.

To make sure this doesn't happen to you, if you get a text like this from Google phone with the six-digit code, don't share it with anyone.

Instead, recognize it's just scammers. When Google sent the verification code, it does state do not share the code with anyone, but for some reason, people ignore that warning.

If you do fall victim to this Google phone scam, you can take control of your number.

HowToRemove.Guide.com provides step by step what you need to do. First, visit https://voice.google.com/about and select Get Google Voice if you don't have a Google Voice account. If you already have a Google Voice account, skip to Step 4.

1. When you are asked to provide a forwarding number, enter a phone number different from the one that the scammers "stole." You can use any other phone number as long as you can receive calls on it - you can ask a friend or a relative to give you their phone and thus allow you to use their phone number so that you could complete this step. The number you use here can later be removed from your Google Voice account.

2. Once you provide a forwarding phone number, Google will give you a six-digit code that you are supposed to enter when you receive a call on the forwarding number. This time, you should enter the code to verify the registration.

3. Now, from your Google Voice account, click on the blue plus (+) button to add a second forwarding number. Now, add the number the scammers "stole". You will likely receive a warning that this number is currently used by another account - agree to change the account for that number. If you don't get such a warning, this means that the scammers are no longer using your number and there's no need to do anything. Once again, a six-digit code will be given to you by Google and you will need to enter it when you receive the call.
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