Google Voice is a service that provides virtual phone numbers to make and receive calls and text messages. Each Google Voice number must be linked to a real phone number so that any activity can be traced back to the user. In a new scam, cybercriminals use your name and phone number to create a Google Voice number. Once created, cybercriminals can use the Google Voice number for other phone-based scams. Worse still, they can also use the linked Google Voice number to gain access to your Google account.Here’s how the scam works: Cybercriminals target anyone that shares their phone number in a public space. For example, let’s say you post an ad for an old couch on a resale website and include your phone number. A cybercriminal could contact you pretending to be interested in the couch. Then, they could send you a Google authentication code and ask you to send them the code to prove that you are a legitimate seller. Unfortunately, the code actually allows them to link their Google Voice number to your real phone number. Remember the following tips to stay safe from similar scams:
- If someone wants to confirm that you are a real person, suggest a safe option, such as making a phone call or meeting in a busy, public place.
- Resale sites are just one example of where cybercriminals could find your phone number. They could also reference social media posts or even your resume. Always be cautious when you’re contacted by someone you don’t know.
- Never share a confirmation or authentication code with another person. Keep these codes between you and the service that you need the code for, such as logging in to your bank account.
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