Google Voice Scam: How It Works and How To Avoid It

Shot of a young businesswoman talking on a mobile phone during a late night at work.
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There you are, just minding your own business and trying to sell some goods online when you hear rumors of a scam designed to attack just this simple feat. You want to protect your information and your finances so it is good to be informed as to what online communications or transactions are valid and which are trying to scam you.

Read: If Your Credit Score is Under 740, Make These 4 Moves Now

What Is the Google Voice Verification Code Scam? 

If you are selling things online from such platforms as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace you often have to communicate with those buying from you. Google Voice is a number for calls, texts and voicemails. It works on smartphones and the web to allow you to place calls and receive calls from anywhere in the world. The Google Voice scam comes into play when a person contacts you feigning interest in what you are selling. However, before they commit to buying the item they pretend to hesitate.

The scammer then will say something along the lines of not wanting to get scammed themselves or how they have heard of fake online listings and want to verify you, the seller, are in fact a real person. The next stage is them sending you a Google Voice verification code. 

If the scammer sends you the fake Google Voice verification code and you respond, it could allow them to use your voice to create a fraudulent Google Voice number, linked to your number and in your name. This would then allow them to use this number to scam other people. It’s a vicious cycle.

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How To Reclaim Your Google Voice Number

If you have recently responded to a Google Voice verification code, worry not, you can take the following steps to reclaim your number.

  1. Check if your linked number gets claimed, if it has this means someone else is using it with another Google Voice account.
  2. When in your Google Voice account, click on “Settings.”
  3. Under “Linked numbers,” select “New Linked Number.”
  4. Google Voice will send a six-digit code to verify your number.
  5. Enter the code and then click “Verify.”
  6. If the number is being used by another account you will have the option to claim it. 
  7. Select “Claim” and the number will link to your account again.

How To Avoid the Google Voice Scam

To avoid the Google Voice verification code scam altogether it is just a matter of staying vigilant when buying and selling items online. Many online platforms for buying and selling goods such as eBay or Etsy have more security measures with built-in customer support as well as their own verification system. Don’t give your personal information out online to people you don’t know or through sites that are not secure. Google even says not to answer a request for a Google Voice verification code. 

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Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, scams will find their way into any system where buying and selling exist. As scams get more advanced, the buyers and sellers need to get savvier. This is not to say you should fear any transactions online, just be aware of who you are giving your information to, and if someone asks you to verify your identity via a Google Voice verification code, don’t do it. 

Google Voice Scam FAQ

  • Is a Google Voice Verification code a scam?
    • Yes, if you are selling something online and someone asks you to verify you are real by sending you a Google Voice verification code, do not respond to it or send your information. Scammers use this to start a fake account in your name linked to your number. Google itself has even said not to share a verification code.
  • Why would I get a Google Voice verification code?
    • Google would send you a text message with a verification code when you sign up for Google Voice or add a phone to your account. You enter this code to activate Voice on your phone.
  • What can a hacker do with my Google Voice verification code?
    • If you respond to a Google Voice verification code the hacker can then start a new fraudulent account under your name that is linked to your number. They can use this to defraud other people as well.
  • What can a scammer do with a verification code?
    • If you respond to a Google Voice verification code the scammer can then start a new fraudulent account under your name that is linked to your number. They can use this to defraud other people as well. If you have recently given a Google Voice verification code to someone, you can log into your account and reclaim your number so it will no longer be used by someone else.

Information is accurate as of Nov. 18, 2022. 

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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About the Author

Caitlyn Moorhead has written content for a variety of businesses and publications. After graduating from Central Michigan University cum laude, she moved to NYC where she wrote columns, articles and plays for several years before relocating to Austin, Texas in the fall of 2020.
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