The Google Voice Account Scam

Google Voice is a telephone service that provides call forwarding and voicemail services, voice and text messaging, for Google Account customers in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

Google Voice provides a U.S. telephone number, chosen by the user from available numbers in selected area codes, free of charge to each user account. Calls to this number are forwarded to telephone numbers of the user’s choice. Multiple destinations may be specified that ring simultaneously for incoming calls and any can be answered.

Users in the U.S. can also make outbound calls to domestic and international destinations.

Google Voice services include voicemail, free text messaging, call history, conference calling, call screening, blocking of unwanted calls, and voice transcription to text of voicemail messages.

How The Scam Works

You put your telephone number on the Internet e.g. on your own website or social media or a dating website etc. or on a classified advert in a local paper.

A scammer contacts you via text or email.  They claim they need you to prove you are real person, not a computer and that they are using a special phone service that requires that you give them the six-digit code number that will be played to you by an automated verification call or text message from Google.

This may sounds reasonable and you go through with it, but then shortly afterwards that your name and number are being used to scam people and you no longer have control of your phone number. What happened?

The scammer has in fact, gone through the Google Voice setup process.  They tell Google Voice to call your personal number, and the automated call speaks the code, or the text message supplies the code.

The then give the scammer that code and Google issues the new voice number not to you but to the scammer.

The scammer then uses that voice account to scam people then is likely to drop it and get a new one through the same process.

In the worst cases, illegal activity carried out on these fake accounts might involve law enforcement and you will have to prove it wasn’t you carrying out the scam.

Do not give Google verification codes to anyone.

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