Journalist Kelly Rissman of New York City had advertised some furniture online with not so much as a nibble when “Jaree” sent a message via the OfferUp resale app asking if it was still available.

Jaree asked for Rissman’s phone number, then texted to say she would send a code that Rissman could text back to verify she was a real person.

Eager to get out from under storage payments for furniture she no longer needed, Rissman agreed. A six-digit code from Google arrived quickly, along with something written in Filipino. Had she translated it, Rissman would have discovered it said: “—— is your Google Voice verification code. Don’t share it with anyone else.”


Rissman texted the digits back.

How the scam works

Jaree had no interest in furniture. Her aim was to trick Rissman into divulging her phone number and then a Google Voice verification code.

Here’s how a Google Voice verification code scam typically works:

  • A criminal downloads the Google Voice app and links it to a Gmail account.
  • Then they find a potential victim, for instance on a sellers marketplace. They say they’ve been burned in the past by bots and ask the seller to accept and text back a code to prove they’re a real person.
  • When the victim texts the code back, the scammer can link the Google Voice…

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