White Hat Institute

Scams using Google Voice authentication are in the wild

Google Voice
Retrieved from techcrunch.com

Individuals who reveal their mobile numbers publicly are being attacked by Google Voice authentication frauds, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The scammers are targeting people who have placed their phone numbers as a method of contact when planning to sell various products on internet platforms or social media apps, according to the federal law enforcement agency.

“Recently, we’ve had instances of people being targeted in various places,” the FBI stated. “This includes sites where people post about abandoned animals.” If they are lucky, they will create a Google Voice profile in their targets’ names or steal their Gmail accounts, which will be utilized in further fraud cases or phishing attempts later.

The fraudsters will contact their victims by text message or email, expressing an interest in the product for sale and requesting that the seller confirm their offer is genuine and that they are not a bot by providing an authentication number they will receive from Google.

“What he’s really doing is creating a Google Voice account in your name and verifying it using your actual phone number,” the agency noted. “He may utilize that Google Voice account to undertake a variety of attacks against additional victims who won’t respond directly to him once it’s set up. He might also use that code to obtain entry to your Gmail account and take control of it.”

The FBI recommends that victims of Google Voice authentication fraud go to Google’s support site to learn how to regain control of their Google Voice account and restore their Voice number.

If you’re ever victimized, the federal agency also offers the following advice on how to avoid being scammed in the first place:

  • Never give out your Google verification code to anybody else.
  • Buyers, sellers, and Fluffy-finders should all be dealt with in person. Make sure you’re using authorized payment systems if money is going to be exchanged.
  • If you’re doing business over the phone, don’t give away your email address.
  • Allowing someone to push you into a deal is not a good idea. They are most certainly attempting to trick you into acting without thinking if they are forcing you to respond.

Those who suspect they have been a target of online fraud can contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or their regional FBI office.