Common Scams Going Around: Watch Out!

By Jabin / 10-19-2023 / News

About

This article lets you know about all of the most common scams going around right now. Make sure you don't fall for these! If you get any messages like these on any platform make sure to report them.

1. Google Voice Scam (Robot Verification)

About the Scam

This scam happens when the scammer gets ahold of your phone number. Usually when you list it on a website with an ad, a listing for an item you're selling, or on another website where your phone number would be available publicly if you listed it. It most commonly happens when you list an item on Facebook Marketplace and you get a message from someone who is interested. They give you their phone number and tell you to text them about the item. Don't text anyone from Facebook Marketplace, only use the built-in messaging system. If someone from Facebook Marketplace asks you to text them, it's most likely a scam. 

When you text them, they get your phone number. They then tell you something along the lines of "I need to verify that you're a legitimate seller" or "not a bot." They'll send a Google Voice verification code to your phone. Once you give it to them you are authorizing them to get another phone number to use to scam people through Google Voice. They are not actually interested in the item and most likely don't even live in your area.

How to fix it

If you've fallen for this scam, don't worry! Taking your phone number away from these scammers is very easy, and they don't gain any (of your) money or personal information from this scam. All you need to do is download the Google Voice app on your phone or visit the Google Voice Website on your computer. Log in with your Google account and then go through the setup process using your personal phone number. Then select a phone number (it doesn't have to be from your area code), and you're done. This does require you to have a Google Voice number, which is handy for multiple reasons, but if you don't need/want/understand it then you can just close the website or uninstall the app and forget about it.

2. USPS Delivery Scam

About the Scam

Usually this scam starts when you get a text from an unknown number claiming to be from the United States Postal Service. They say your package couldn't be delivered due to some sort of issue. They link a website that is not the official USPS website and should not be trusted. The website will usually ask for personal details, maybe payment details or login details to something so the scammers can try to take money from you.

How to fix it

Don't click on any links in texts from numbers you don't know. Make sure they're from the official company by searching for the number on a website or app that warns of scams. If you have entered sensetive information to the website, like your credit or debit card number, call your credit card company or bank and tell them that you've been scammed into giving away your payment information and ask how they can help.

3. Phishing Scam

About the Scam

A scammer will make a website that mimicks another website, for example Google, Microsoft, or something else. They will make a fake but realistic login form that usually is a 1:1 copy of the real login screen. If you enter your login details for the real site to the fake website, the scammers will have access to that and can log into your account, find your personal details, use your account to scam other people, and even lock you out of your account. They also might target you with emails or texts trying to get you to send them some amount of money.

How to fix it

Make sure that when you visit a website that it's the official website. If you don't know, maybe search for "(website) official website" and click on the first result from a reliable search engine to make sure the URLs match.

Hopefully this article made you aware of some common online scams. If you or someone you know has been scammed, report it to the FTC. Here's a great resource from the US government on how to report a scam and what to do if you've been scammed.