Google Verification Code Scam

Fraud Alerts

As technology continues to evolve, it offers new ways for people to connect. Sadly, it also presents new opportunities for scammers to commit fraud.  

While not new, reports of verification code scams have increased in the past year. The scam preys on people using sites like Facebook marketplace or Craigslist to sell items or post information about a lost pet. The scammer's ultimate goal is to set-up a Google Voice account, which allows for web-based calling, linked to another person’s cell phone number. By connecting someone else’s information to the web-based calling platform, fraudsters can conceal their identity for future scams.  

For example, you decide to post a couch for sale using Facebook marketplace. The scammer contacts you pretending to be interested in purchasing the sofa. They feign hesitation and request that you provide your cell phone number to verify your identity before moving forward with the purchase. After requesting your cell phone number, the scammer sends a verification code by text message and asks that you send them the code to prove your identity. Once the code is provided, the scammer goes on to create a Google Voice number linked to your cell phone number, often to be used for additional scams.  

The most important way to protect yourself from this type of scam is to never share a verification code of any kind with others, especially with someone you connect with through an online platform like Craigslist or Facebook. In fact, it is important that you do not share any sensitive information on these platforms, as scammers might use additional information to access your accounts or open new accounts in your name. If someone requests a verification code from you, cease communication and report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission.  

With the right precautions, it is possible to safely use these sites to buy, sell, or share information with an online community.  



  • This is a scam where someone pretends to be an interested buyer in something you have listed for sale. The criminals have a Google Verification code sent to the seller and then ask the seller to share the code to verify they are a real seller. In reality, they are using the verification code to spoof the seller's phone number for later scams.

    Learn more here.
  • If someone has gotten a hold of your phone number and is using it maliciously, you can do the following:
    1. Contact your service provider immediately to inform them of the situation
    2. Ask for a temporary freeze to added to your line so scammers can't use your phone number
    3. Contact people you know to warn them about the situation as they may become targets for the same scam
    4. Document all of your steps
    5. If your phone was lost or stolen, it is important that you report it
    6. Change your logins for your bank account, email, and social media
  • If a criminal gets a hold of a six-digit Google verification code, they can use it to hack into your accounts usually to commit identity theft.
  • Criminals can use your phone number to impersonate you, steal from others, or harrass you and other people. Hackers can also make it so your phone number routes to their phone.

    Learn more here.
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