facebook marketplace scam

Facebook MarketPlace “Verifcation” scam.

“Prove you are human”

Do you use Facebook MarketPlace? If you are selling something, at some point you are likely to get a response from a “buyer” asking you to “prove you are human” by providing a Google Code.

DON’T DO IT! Do not accept and text back that code!

Here is what is really happening. You are not proving you are “human”, you are potentially giving a scammer your phone number and then a Google Voice verification code. When the victim texts the code back, the scammer can link the Google Voice number to the victim’s authenticated phone. The scammer then becomes a fake seller — potentially ensnaring victims who pay for goods they never receive.

There are plenty of legitimate uses for a Google Voice number. Google Voice lets users merge multiple phone numbers into one. People can give it to business and personal contacts instead of having to juggle multiple phone numbers. Individuals can keep their cell phone numbers private, and businesses can find an available number with the last four digits that they want. It can also be a handy way to ward off phone spammers, like ones in giant call centers who pitch Medicare products or make you think someone has changed an Apple or Amazon product to your credit card.

What many may not realize is that Google Voice numbers can be used for outgoing calls as well as incoming. Scammers want a steady supply of new Google Voice numbers to use in criminal activity. This is how they get them.

And reclaiming your number can be next to impossible. The instructions from Google Voice just to access your account direct you to go to the “top right and click Settings”. After logging in, you will quickly find that here is no “settings” in the top right of the screen. In searching for the problem you will discover that you have 28 tabs open.

Reaching out to Google for help is like expecting a personal phone call from the White House. For the technically challenged, even posting in the Help Forum is an impossible task. Don’t Google how to reach Google, all the links and listings are not Google. Oh, but there are lots of ways to “chat with a paid expert”.

You will even find a phone number for reaching Google … 650-253-0000 – but don’t expect anything but a recording. The best way to reach Google is to look for “Ask a community expert” and fill out the form and wait for a response. The place to start is myaccount.google.com/support