Don’t Fall for This Verification Code Scam
There is no limit to the number of ways that scammers try to con people. One of the newer cons to be aware of is the verification code (four/six-digit verification code) scam. This scam is growing increasingly common with the popularity of online marketplaces where people buy and sell items. What’s unique about this scam is that the scammer uses a phone number associated with you to cheat other people out of their money.
In the verification code scam you place an online ad to sell something. You add your phone number no matter if cell or landline number. Then the scammer enters the picture. They send you a text or message that they need you to verify you’re a real person not a bot or a scammer yourself. They say that their phone requires a six-digit verification code to proceed with the transaction. The six-digit verification code is played to you through a voice messaging system or sent to you by text. You enter the code.
What the other party actually did was cause you to set up an online voicemail and phone service. When you enter the verification code the recording tells you not to share it with anybody else. However you ignored the warning and shared it with the scammer. They end up with a new phone number that forwards calls to your cell phone or landline. The goal of this con is to get your number to use as a forwarding service or means of getting their own online calling texting and voicemail service for free. Most of these scammers drop your number in a hurry moving on to their next victim.
You can quickly find your way out of this scam. To get your personal number back you need to re-add it to your own online voice messaging and call forwarding service. If you don’t have one yet you’ll need to establish one. You’ll use your real personal number as the forwarding number for the new account. The purpose of doing this is when you get asked for your phone number you give the person the number associated with the online account not your cellphone or house. Since the online phone number can be set up to always go to voicemail you can screen all the calls that go to it. Many people give their online phone account numbers to people at the bar or to store cashiers who ask for a phone number.
To set up your new online voice account add a new linked number. This is the number you gave to the scammer. If you get a warning that it’s already in use this is a good thing. It means that you’re taking it away from the scammer. If you don’t see the warning it means the scammer dropped it. However you still need to reclaim it so that you don’t get scammed again. Once you’ve set up your correct phone number as the forwarding number for your new voice account that’s all you need to do. Although this scam doesn’t put your identity or bank account at risk it does serve as a sort of admission ticket for a scammer to perpetuate other cons. In the future remember to never share your verification code with anybody.