People who have their phone numbers online could be at risk for scammers using their number to create a Google Voice phone number.
Something as simple as putting a phone number on a Craigslist ad, Facebook post or dating app can put someone at risk.
A scammer can see these numbers just like anyone else, so they use it to set up a Google Voice phone number.
Here's how they do it.
First, they log into a Google email account and choose a new phone number to create.
In order to create the phone number, they need to verify a current number. This means a scammer will use the number they found online.
Google asks them to verify that number by confirming a code texted to the original number.
That's when the scammer texts the owner's number to ask for that code. If they get the code, they can finish creating the Google Voice number connected to a number that was online.
The scammer should not be able to physically harm their victim or take any money from them, but they can conduct illegal activity connected to their victim's number.
There is a way to override a scammer's hold on a phone number.
Here's how you can do it:
First, go to the Google Voice website. From there, log into an existing Google Voice account or set up a new one with a different number than what the scammer took.
Once you have an account, add the stolen number using a new G-Code. It should override the hacker's account and put the original number back in the owner's name.
We can verify that this scam is real, but it is easy to avoid and fix.