HONOLULU (KHON2) — A recent scam is targeting a widely-used safety measure in technology, and using it against victims to get into their Google accounts.
When Oahu resident Sean Robert Young recently tried to sell his bed at online marketplaces he was surprised by how quickly he got a response.
“The moment I posted it maybe within 10-20 seconds later I got a response from somebody an interested party,” Young said.
Things then quickly moved off the platform.
“The interested party said hey I’m interested can you send me your phone number?” Young added.
He was then given a request: the potential buyer wanted to make sure that Young was real.
“He said I’ll send you this code I need you to read it back to me, it was pretty quick he went to my contact number to getting a code that came to me,” Young said. “and in the code, there’s a box and on the bottom of the box, there’s a website. I clicked the website before I gave it to him and it went to this google account that said do not share your code.”
Young was sure he was being scammed, but the scammer didn’t give up that easily.
“Right there just the red flag I pretty much told him no, I’m not going to share the code, and he tried to convince me otherwise, he said no that code is for me and you only,” Young said.
It’s called the Google voice scam. The Federal Trade Commission warns that sellers on internet marketplaces are targeted by scammers pretending to be interested in buying an item. The buyer expresses interest but asks to confirm that you, the seller, are legitimate. They ask for your phone number to text over a verification code and then ask you to reply with the code on the platform where your item is listed.
“What they are trying to do is get access into your own phone number so they can get access into your Google account and once they have it in there they have information about you from your name, your address, and from there they can start to open accounts in your name,” Better Business Bureau communications manager Roseann Freitas said.
To stop it, the BBB says to keep your guard up, avoid deals too good to be true, and keep the communication on the market you’re using.
“They don’t need your phone number to do the sell or transaction online on these marketplaces, so don’t give it out,” Freitas said.
Click here for more information on how the scam works and how to stop it.