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Unless you are an internet scammer, you are among the many people who hate internet scams. Unfortunately, Craigslist, which is a popular Web and online classifieds community, has been a strong spam magnet for many years. The commonest form of scam is Craiglist Google Voice Verification Code scam. The spams are mainly from advertisers who would want to post many adverts in one category or even post the same adverts in many cities where Craigslist is accessible. Craigslist has taken many measures to diminish spams or any cross-postings.
For most categories, especially those that involve money transactions or job listings, Craigslist requires you to create an account and verify it before you post anything. You have to use your unique email address when creating the account but some ad categories will demand telephone verification. In such cases, you will have to provide your telephone number – either your landline or cellphone – in addition to the email address. To verify the phone number, Google will send a text message to the phone number or call you through the landline. You will need to enter the verification code you receive as a way of verifying your account before you post the ad. The area code of your phone number will help Craiglist identify your location. They do not accept toll-free numbers.
Bypassing the phone verification
In the past, some users attempted to bypass the phone verification method by using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to generate phone numbers. Craigslist responded very fast and banned VoIP numbers. Others used payphone telephone numbers to circumvent the phone verification system. Unfortunately, payphones are now scarce outside the public facilities like airports and libraries and it is hard to tell whether others have used them to verify their accounts.
That has influenced most Google Voice Verification Code Craigslist scammers to collect as many telephone numbers as they can from the unsuspecting individuals and use them to verify their accounts. Such scammers pose as officials who monitor “do not call” lists. They will contact a victim and inform him/her that she will receive two phone calls to verify that her number is already listed in “do not call registry”. The first call provides the numeric verification code and instructs the victim to write it somewhere. The scammers then use the victim’s information to verify their Google Voice Code scam account on Craiglist. Because they have to generate many accounts in various cities and countries, the scam artists have to repeat the process.
The other common scam involves the sale of local telephone numbers, purportedly qualified for the Craiglist accounts. The Google Voice code scam artists list the numbers for sale to spammers who would want to post their ads simultaneously in many cities. But if the Craigslist staff suspects that one classified post is appearing in many cities or it is from an account created by scammers from fraudsters, they will remove or block it immediately
How to take your phone number back if you are already a victim
Generally, the Google Voice scam will not cost you any money or even cause you any harm. However, you do not want to fall victim of such scams. In most cases, the scammers will use your number for similar activities after the first instance works. According to Google, the fact that the anonymous cyber crook uses your phone number for illegal activities is enough reason to take action and retrieve the number so that it will be of no use to them if you are already a victim.
To take your phone number from the scammers, you will need to connect it to your Google Voice account so that Google will take it from the control of the scammers immediately. Here are the few steps you need to follow to complete the connection process.
Step 1: Create your Google Voice account
Open https://voice.google.com/u/0/about and click on Get Google Voice to create your Google Voice account. If you already have a Google Voice account, you will need to skip to step 4. The account creation will take you only a few minutes.
Step 2: Enter your phone number
After Google asks you to forward your number, you should enter the phone number scammers have stolen from you. Use any other number, if it can receive calls. If you do not have any, ask your relative or friend to give you their phone number to complete the step. You can remove the number you use in this stage from the complete Google Voice account.
Step 3: Enter the six-digit code
After forwarding the phone number, Google will send you a six-digit code that you should enter after receiving a call on your forwarding number. Enter the code to verify your registration.
Step 4: Add your second forwarding number
On your Google Voice account, search for the blue plus (+) button and click on it to add your second forwarding number. Add the number scammers have already stolen from you. The site is likely to display a warning that another account is already using the number. Agree to change that account. If the warning does not appear, know that the scammers are not using the number anymore and you do not have to do anything else. Google will send you a six-digit code and ask you to enter after you receive the call for verification.
How to protect yourself
If you have been providing your personal telephone number out in public, you should stop. That is because the Google Voice Verification Code scam artists will contact you through text or email about your advert after they get it. They will tell you stories about how they would want to prove that you are a legitimate seller, real person or you are not a bot. They will also tell you that their phone service requires you to give them a six-digit code number that Google sends to you through automated text message or call. After providing them with the six-digit code, they will manage to set up their Craigslist account. Know the numbers to provide in public and those to give to your friends and relatives.
Online scammers are always increasing and therefore familiarizing yourself with the commonest virtual scams is important. If you are not careful, you will find yourself in trouble after a scammer tricks you and you agree to fulfill their demands. And if someone is already using your phone number, the above method will help you take it back easily. Remember to remove the number of your friend or relative from your account after the process is over.