Scammers infiltrating local online markets to hijack sellers' phones - CBC.ca

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A new scam is targeting people who are selling items online through platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji in order to take over their phone number and online accounts.
The person posing as a buyer will ask the seller for their phone number — ironically by saying they have been scammed online before and want to be reassured the seller is genuine, Matthews said.
Don't give out the code Once they have the seller's phone number, the person posing as the buyer will then secretly register a Google Voice account which will generate an automated response with a six-digit verification code to the seller's phone, Matthews told CBC Radio's Maritime Noon guest host Brett Ruskin.
That gives the crook access to other online accounts and they can use the vendor's phone number for other scams.
"Now that they have your phone number linked to their Google Voice account, they can actually perpetrate scams through your phone number, so they could pretend to be you and use this phone number for very nefarious purposes," Matthews said.

Scammers infiltrating local online markets to hijack sellers' phones - CBC.ca

A new scam is targeting people who are selling items online through platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji in order to take over their phone number and online accounts. Kristin Matthews, a spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of the Atlantic region, said there are several steps to the scam. First, she said, the seller is contacted by someone who says they are interested in buying the item being sold immediately to create a sense of urgency. The person posing as a buyer will ask the seller for their phone number — ironically by saying they have been scammed online before and want to be reassured the seller is genuine, Matthews said. Don't give out the code Once they have the seller's phone number, the person posing as the buyer will then secretly register a Google Voice account which will generate an automated response with a six-digit verification code to the seller's phone, Matthews told CBC Radio's Maritime Noon guest host Brett Ruskin. But the scammer tells the seller it's a verification code the scammer sent, and they ask the seller to read it back as "confirmation." The scammers hope the rushed seller doesn't notice the number came from Google, or at least doesn't question that and gives them the code. That gives the crook access to other online accounts and they can use the vendor's phone number for other scams. Kristin Matthews is communications and marketing manager for the Better Business Bureau serving the Atlantic Provinces. (Iris Booth) Google Voice acts as an online phone and can place domestic and international calls and send texts, according to Google's support page for the service. "Now that they have your phone number linked to their Google Voice account, they can actually perpetrate scams through your phone number, so they could pretend to be you and use this phone number for very nefarious purposes," Matthews said. "They could actually hack into your Facebook or your Google account." Matthews said the Better Business Bureau has noticed that the scam is happening in online local buy and sell groups too, which she describes as "a little bit scarier." She said because people assume others in those local groups are members of the community or even neighbours they are more trusting. Lost pet groups Another variation to the scam, Matthews said, is taking place in Facebook groups for lost pets. In those cases, she said, scammers tell the pet owner that they have found their missing pet and request their phone number to ensure they are the real owner. They then do the verification code scam preying on the emotional pet owner. Matthews said people selling their items in online marketplaces should look out for red flags; for example, someone asking for your phone number. Another red flag is if the buyer is in a huge rush to get the item. Communicating only within the online platform and not by phone or text is important, Matthews said, as it provides a better chance of recourse should something go wrong. On its support page for Google Voice, the company says it is important never to share the verification code they send with anyone. Even Google employees won't ask for the code. MORE TOP STORIES
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