BBB and PetFBI Issues Warning on Google Voice Scams

Columbus, OH (August 24, 2020) – Many individuals are heartbroken when their pet runs away from home and becomes lost. It can become even more devastating when a scammer calls to give them false hope.

Leslie Poole, the Executive Director of PetFBI, has alerted BBB to scammers using Google Voice to provide false hope to consumers who have lost their beloved pet.

How the scam works:

The scammer gets your phone number from a lost pet site, Facebook page, Craigslist, or other public forum. You receive a text saying that they have found your lost pet.
The scammer then says they are sending you a 6-digit code that you need to send back to them to prove your identity.

In actuality, the scammer has created a Google Voice account using your phone number. Once you provide the 6-digit verification code, the Google Voice account setup will be complete. The scammer can now use this Google Voice account to perpetrate other scams.

Poole stressed to BBB that the scammer does not have your lost pet. The scammers are just trying to get the verification code to use your phone number to establish a Google Voice account.

BBB offers the following tips to keep you and your information safe:

.Value your personal information. Think of your personal information like money: value and protect it. Be careful what sites you visit and who you are speaking with, and be sure everything is legitimate before entering personal information or responding to a request to enter a verification code. Be especially wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true.

.Share with care. What you post on social media can last a lifetime, so think about who will see your posts and photos, how they will be perceived, and what information they reveal about you.

.Own your online presence. Set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.

.Don’t click on unfamiliar links. Whether at home or at work, don’t click on links from unfamiliar sources or unexpected correspondence. One false click can infect a whole computer… or a whole business.

.Avoid wiring money, or using a cash app or gift card. These payment methods offer no recourse and no way to get your money back if you are the victim of a fraud.

Fraudsters may claim to accept credit cards, but may steal your credit card information to use it in other scams or inform you that payment didn’t go through and request the payment via wire service or gift cards.

To report a scam, go to: https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker

Check http://bbb.org for more information on how to avoid scams.

For more information, follow BBB on Facebook, Twitter, TrustLocal.org or at http://bbb.org

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