This time using verification codes
A new scam trick is making it way around popular marketplace websites such as Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace and it all revolves around ‘Verification Codes’.
The general way this trick works is that after you’ve posted an ad online to sell something, you’ll get a text message reply that goes something like
“I want to buy (Your item name). Is it still available?”
After you reply yes, they’ll say something along the lines of
“I just sent you a verification code from Google. Prove to me you are real by sending me the code”.
A few moments later you’ll get another text message from Google with a short 4-6 digit code. This message is often in another language!
If you send the code to the person who contacted you, they’ll stop replying at this point because they got what they wanted!
Note: It may not always be from Google! Sometimes it’s Yahoo, Microsoft or any other big company.
What has happened is that this person is trying to set-up a new account or gain access to your current account!
The message that is sent with the code (the one in another language) actually says “Do not share this with anybody else”. The scammer is hoping that because it’s in another language, you won’t notice.
The ‘verification code’ that is sent is actually a code used by the company to verify that you asked them to perform a service.
This service could be to setup a new account, or to change the password!
So by giving the code to the scammer, they’ll be able to create a new account with your phone number or reset your password for your current account!
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
If the scammer gains access to your account, that’s obviously bad news and could have some bad consequences.
But why does it matter if they make a brand new account using your phone number?
It matters because they’ll be using this new account to scam other people! This scam account may get flagged and YOUR phone number will be listed as a scammers number, possibly barring you from creating new accounts with that company.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
If anybody asks you to send them a code from a company to verify your identity, cut all contact! It’s as simple as that.