NBC 6 Responds

New Scam Targets People Selling Items Online

The Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau issued separate warnings about a new scam where scammers target your phone number

NBC Universal, Inc.

A new scam is targeting people who are selling used items online. NBC 6’s Sasha Jones reports

A new scam is targeting people who are selling used items online.

The Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau issued separate warnings about a new scam where scammers target your phone number.

According to the warnings, scammers are targeting people who post things for sale on sites like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and other social media sites.

The scammers contact sellers and ask them for their phone numbers. Then, the scammer asks the seller for their telephone number and will send over a Google Voice verification code through text message.

Next, the scammers will ask the seller to read them this code. With the code, the scammer will then try to create a Google Voice number linked to your phone number.

“This is just a way to take your phone number and use it for other types of scams and use it for what we call spoofing,” Cinthya Lavin said.

Lavin is the VP of Communications for the Southeast Florida Better Business Bureau.  

Spoofing is when a scammer makes telephone calls that look like they are coming from your telephone number.

“For the scammer what they gain here is another way of concealing their identity,” Lavin said.

Google Voice has steps on their site to help you reclaim their voice number and Google tells us they are taking action on accounts created as a part of this scheme.

A spokesperson told NBC 6 Responds:

“Google takes action for abuse of its services, per the Google Voice Acceptable Use Policy. Google has a team that investigates complaints of fraud and scams that it receives from law enforcement and sources including Bandwidth, which is a primary resource for reporting Google Voice abuse.”

They said there are similar scams out there, so never share those one-time passwords with people you don’t know. When it comes to safely selling or buying used items online Lavin said you should take extra steps to stay safe.

“You want to communicate through the app in which you posted,” Lavin said. “The number one tip is to always meet in a safe place, a lot of law enforcement agencies have allowed for people to meet in their lobby, and do exchanges.”