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  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: google voice, , , , ,   

    Should you give a stranger an authorization code to get your pet back? 

    Should you give a stranger an authorization code to get your pet back?

    By Greg Collier

    Proving that they’re completely heartless, scammers will even try to scam people whose pets have gone missing. The most common lost pet scam is when the scammers claim they have your dog before asking you for money, either as a reward or as a ransom. In most cases, the scammers never had your dog and are hoping to catch you at a vulnerable time. More recently, we’ve seen a report about a new type of lost pet scam that online sellers have been the target of.

    In Ohio, The Better Business Bureau is warning about this scam, which is currently targeting local residents. One resident stated that she put up a social media post about her lost dog with her phone number attached. Within minutes of posting, she received a phone call from a California number. The caller said they had found the dog. However, in order to verify the owner, the caller said they would be sending a six-digit code through a text message and that the dog’s owner should give that code number to the caller.

    If you’re a frequent online seller, you may recognize this as the Google Voice scam. Google Voice is a service that allows you to have a second phone number. The second number is not only ted to your Google account, but it’s tied to your primary phone number as well. The six-digit code is an authorization code for when you sign up for Google Voice. If you give that code to a scammer, they’ll get a phone number they can use in future scams that is tied to your phone number. While this scam may not cost you any money, it can cost you a lot of inconvenience if the number gets traced back to you.

    If you ever lose a pet and someone has claimed to have found them, ask the caller for a picture of the pet. This way, you can verify if they really have the pet. If they give you an excuse like their camera is broken, it’s more than likely a scam. To help prevent scams like this, we recommend getting your pets microchipped, even if they’re indoor pets. You can never plan for when your pet may make a run for it.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , google voice, , ,   

    FBI warns about Google Voice scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Google Voice is a pretty cool service as it allows you to have a second phone number for free. One of the benefits of having a Google Voice number is that you can give it to stores and retailers who constantly ask for your phone number instead of giving out your primary phone number. Or, if you have multiple numbers such as work and home, you can have your Google Voice number ring both numbers. You can also put your Google Voice account on do not disturb, so any call to your Google Voice number will go straight to a voicemail message. However, as with many beneficial technology tools, scammers are using Google Voice to perpetuate more scams.

    The Google Voice scam tends to target people who are selling items online, especially through Facebook Marketplace. The supposed buyer will tell you that they want to verify that you’re not a scammer. To achieve this, a text message will be sent to your phone number with a six digit verification code. The scammer will then ask you to provide them with that code. What the scammers are really doing is setting up a Google Voice account for themselves that is attached to your number. They’ll then use that Google Voice number to perpetuate more scams, while that number can be traced back to you. It’s gotten so bad, not only has the FBI issued a warning about the scam, but the scammers are also targeting people who have posted about lost pets on social media.

    If someone you don’t know asks for a code that was sent to your phone, there’s a good chance that it’s an authorization code that scammers can use to wreak all sorts of havoc. They can be trying to get you to turn your bank account over to them, or you could be giving them access to any one of your online accounts.

    If you think you’ve fallen victim to this scam, Google has instructions on how to reclaim the number.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , google voice, ,   

    When pets go missing, scammers follow 

    By Greg Collier

    It only takes a moment. Maybe you left the front door open just a second too long. Or maybe the leash gets yanked out of your hand while on a walk. Before you know it, your pet is long gone, run off to who knows where in the neighborhood. You hope your neighbors are kind enough to let you know if they spot your pet, so you put up notices on platforms like Facebook, Craigslist, and Nextdoor. You even post fliers on telephone poles in the area. However, you’re teased with brief glimpses of hope as people claim that they’ve found your pet, only to find out that they’re scammers.

    This is what happened to a woman in Texas when her 17-year-old dog with special needs got out of the family’s home in the blink of an eye. The dog’s owner posted about her lost dog on social media and put out physical fliers that included her phone number. It wasn’t long before people started calling her, claiming to have her dog. One caller asked the woman to enter a verification code to prove she was the dog’s owner. While the report doesn’t state it, this sounds a lot like the Google Voice scam. This is where scammers can get a Google Voice number linked to your phone number and use the Google number to commit future scams.

    Another caller said that they were going to harm the dog and sent the woman a picture of a gun. Again, while the report doesn’t mention it, this scammer was probably trying to extort some kind of payment out of the dog’s owner even though they didn’t have the dog.

    Unfortunately, the woman has yet to find her lost dog.

    So what can you do to prevent this from happening to you and your pet? The first thing you should do before a pet can run off is take them to the vet and get them microchipped. Chipped pets have a much better chance of being returned home. If you need to post fliers or social media posts, use your email address instead of your phone number. Scammers can find a lot of personal information about you if they know your phone number. If someone claims to have your pet, ask them to send a picture of your pet. And if someone claims to have your pet and asks you to wire money or send them gift cards, they do not have your pet and are just trying to scam you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on November 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , google voice, ,   

    Scammers stealing phone numbers from online sellers 

    Scammers stealing phone numbers from online sellers

    By Greg Collier

    When you use an unmoderated online marketplace like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, there’s a better than average chance that you’ll be dealing with at least one scammer. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying or selling, but today we’re going to focus on the latest scam that’s been plaguing sellers in recent months. While it’s not a new scam, online security experts say that they’ve seen a resurgence of the scam since August. It goes by a few names, like the verification code scam or the Google Voice scam, but it’s still a scam that everyone should be aware of.

    Scammers are approaching online sellers as if they’re interested in the item being sold. The scammers will ironically tell the seller that they’re concerned about scams and that they have a way to verify that the seller is a real person. The seller will then receive a text message with a verification code on it, and the scammers will ask for this code. Once the scammers have the code, they’ll use it to open a Google Voice account using the seller’s phone number. This is done so the scammers can have a legitimate US phone number that can be used in future scams. Meanwhile, the seller is completely unaware that a Google Voice account has been opened in their name. And if someone complains to Google that the number is being used in a scam, it will trace back to the seller’s phone number and not the scammers’.

    There are a couple of ways to avoid falling victim to this scam. The first way is that if you receive one of these verification texts, the text will say not to share the number with anyone. Verification code texts are also used by scammers to bypass two-factor authentication. So no matter who sent the text, never share any verification codes. The second way to help avoid this scam is to get your own Google Voice number. They can be very handy, such as giving your Google Voice number to any store or website that asks for a phone number at checkout. Instead of giving them your actual phone number, you can give them the Google Voice number instead.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , google voice, red light camera, , , , TSA PreCheck,   

    Scam Round Up: Red Lights, the TSA, and Google Voice 

    Scam Round Up: Red Lights, the TSA, and Google Voice

    By Greg Collier

    Every so often, we come across scams that may not warrant an entire blog post. So here are three scams that caught our attention this week that be briefly summed up.

    In Renton, Washington, scammers are sending emails to victims claiming that the victim ran a red light and was caught on one of the city’s red light cameras. The email contains a link where you’re supposed to pay your fine but, of course, goes to the scammer instead. What makes this scam effective is that many jurisdictions use a third party online platform to collect some traffic fines. However, you can tell that this is a scam since most, if not all, cities send their red light tickets through the postal mail and not by email. Most states don’t even have your email address connected to your license plate number.

    ***

    If you travel a lot for business or leisure, you may have thought of signing up for TSA PreCheck. This program allows low-risk individuals to pay for a service where they can have an expedited security check when flying. As with a lot of government services, scammers are trying to trick PreCheck seekers into giving up their personal info by creating phony websites that claim they can register you with PreCheck. Again, there is a simple solution to this scam, but not everyone is aware of it. Only websites that have a .gov address can register you for PreCheck. Some of these scam websites may even have a .us address. Anybody can purchase a .us domain name, and it is not under the authority of the US Government. You can apply for TSA PreCheck at the TSA website.

    ***

    Our last scam for today is one we’ve previously discussed and also affects Geebo’s industry. If you’re selling something online, whether it’s with Geebo or someone else, be wary if someone says they want to prove ‘you’re real’. An authorization code will be sent to you and the buyer will ask for that code number. Do not give it to them. They’re trying to set up a Google Voice number that would be tied to your phone number. This way, they could continue scamming people using the Google Voice number, but would be traced back to you. This recently happened to a woman from New Hampshire who was selling her items on Facebook Marketplace.

    ***

    Please keep in mind that even though these scams may not be happening in your area, that doesn’t mean that it soon won’t be.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: google voice, ,   

    Google Voice scam affects online sellers 

    Google Voice scam affects online sellers

    By Greg Collier

    Google Voice is a pretty useful app to have. If you sign up for Google Voice, it allows you to have a second phone number for free. If you use it normally, the Google Voice number will ring your current number. However, you can also set it to do not disturb mode, calls to your Google Voice number will go straight to voicemail. One of its best uses is to use as nuisance avoidance. If someone wants your phone number, and you prefer not to trust them with your actual number, you can give them your Google Voice number instead.

    For some of the same reasons, scammers love Google Voice. The problem for scammers is they don’t want the Google Voice number tied to their own phone number. Instead, the scammers will try to trick a victim into have the Google Voice number tied to the victim’s number. This happened recently to a woman who was trying to sell something online.

    In her ad, she had her actual phone number listed. She received a call from someone posing as a buyer. When the woman tried to set up a meeting arrangement, the buyer said that they were going to send the woman a Google Voice code to verify that the woman’s listing was legitimate. The buyer kept asking the woman for the code that was sent, but the woman felt like she was being scammed and did not give the code to the scammer.

    If she had given the scammer the code, the scammers would have been able to sign up for a Google Voice number that would have been tied to the woman’s phone number. The scammers could have used the Google Voice number to commit more scams and if anyone looked into the number, it would have traced back to the victim.

    If someone you don’t know asks for a code that was sent to your phone, there’s a good chance that it’s an authorization code that scammers can use to wreak all sorts of havoc. They can be trying to get you to turn your bank account over to them, or you could be giving them access to any one of your online accounts.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , defense contractor, google voice, ,   

    These tech scams are frightening! 

    These tech scams are frightening!

    This week’s set of scams are incredibly troubling. Technology has advanced to a point where scams have become harder to spot. Not to mention that some of the tactics used by these scammers are like something out of a movie.

    The first scam is kind of confusing and seems a little convoluted for something that doesn’t bring that much to the scammers. If you’re not familiar with Google Voice, it’s a service that provides you with a free supplementary phone number. Scammers are using Google Voice to hijack phone numbers from personal numbers that have been shared online. For example, if you’ve posted your phone number in a classified ad the scammers will attempt to hijack that number. The scammers won’t be able to take any money from you but could potentially use your number for criminal activity. If your number has been hijacked in one of these scams this article has instructions on how to get your number back. Unfortunately, the steps won’t be that easy.

    The next scam, while rare, is very disconcerting. Security firm Symantec has said that they have found a handful of scams where the scammers have used deep fake audio of business executives in order to trick employees into transferring money to the scammers. Deep fakes are AI generated video or audio that can be hard to tell from the real thing. We’ve previously discussed the potential harm that deep fakes could cause here. The process to generate these deep fakes can cost thousands of dollars ut could end up costing businesses untold losses in the future.

    Our last scam for today is the most alarming. According to news site Quartz, a US military defense contractor was taken for $3 million in top-secret equipment by international con artists. All the scammers had to do was use an email address that looks similar to official military domains. This is basically the same phishing scam that’s used to try to steal your banking information except a company with a high government security clearance fell for it to the tune of $3 million. Thankfully, the scammers were apprehended after federal investigators tracked them down through the mailing address they used that they claimed was a military installation. Disturbingly, neither the Quartz article nor the legal documents Quartz obtained state whether or not the sensitive equipment was ever recovered.

     
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