Nova Scotia Journal

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Scammers entering local online markets to hijack brokers’ phones

Nova Scotia

Key takeaways: 

  • Better Business Bureau advises spotting red flags and avoiding tricksters when trading online.
  • A new fraud is targeting people selling things on online marketplaces. 

A new fraud is targeting people selling items online through platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji to take over their phone numbers and online handles.

Kristin Matthews, a representative for the Better Business Bureau of the Atlantic area, stated there are steps to the fraud.

First, she said, the seller is reached by someone who says they are curious about purchasing the item being sold immediately to build a sense of urgency.

The person posing as a customer will request the seller for their phone number — ironically, by stating they have been scammed online before and want to be comforted, the dealer is genuine, Matthews said.

Don’t give out the code

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A new fraud is targeting people selling items online through platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji to take over their phone numbers and online handles

Once they have the dealer’s phone number, the person posing as the customer will then privately register a Google Voice account which will develop an automated reply with a six-digit verification code to the seller’s phone, Matthews told CBC Radio’s Maritime Noon guest host Brett Ruskin.

But the trickster tells the dealer it’s a verification code the scammer sent, and they request the seller to read it back as “confirmation.” 

The scammers expect the rushed dealer doesn’t see the number came from Google, or at least doesn’t ask that and gives them the code. That provides the scammer access to other online handles and can use the seller’s phone number for other cons.

Google Voice acts as an online phone and can place domestic and international calls and send messages, according to Google’s help page for the service.

“Now that they have your phone number attached to their Google Voice account, they can perform scams through your phone number, so they could act to be you and use this phone number for shameful purposes,” Matthews said.

Source – CBC News

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