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Scammers are said to be targeting people who have shared their mobile device online, the US federal law enforcement agency has revealed. This is thought to be either via social media applications or through providing a form of contact on online marketplaces.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said: “Recently, we have also been getting reports of people who are getting targeted in other locations, including sites where you post about lost pets.”
Online scammers hope to create an account on Google Voice in the name of their would-be victim.
However, on other occasions, scammers might opt to hijack a Gmail account.
This can be used as a part of other fraud schemes or even in future phishing attacks.
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The FBI claim fraudsters tend to reach out to their targets via text message or email.
During this initial contact, scammers are accused of expressing an interest in an item put up for sale.
They then ask sellers to verify they are not from a bot account or that their advertisement is legitimate by asking the user to share the authentication code received from Google.
The FBI said: “What he is really doing is setting up a Google Voice account in your name using your real phone number as verification.”
The agency added: “Once set up, he can use that Google Voice account to conduct any number of scams against other victims that won’t come back directly to him.
“He can also use that code to gain access to, and take over your Gmail account.”
The FBI stress users should never share Google codes with anyone or email addresses with buyers and sellers over the phone.
However, according to the Sun, users can retrieve their phone numbers even if they are fraudulently linked to a Google Voice account.
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To do so, users should go to voice.google.com on their computer and then click on the ‘Settings’ icon.
Following this, users should click ‘New Linked number’ under ‘Linked numbers’ and then enter their phone number.
They can click ‘Send code’ to get a six-digit number.
Finally, users should enter this code, click ‘Verify’, then hit ‘Claim’.
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