Protect Yourself: How To Avoid Phone Number Hijacking Scams

Avoid Phone Number Hijacking Scams

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This article will give you steps to avoid phone number hijacking scams. Online marketplaces such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace offer convenient ways to sell unwanted items and earn extra income. Unfortunately, scammers have devised a cunning method to exploit sellers by fraudulently establishing phone numbers in their name.

How the scam works

When you post an item for sale, you might receive a swift response from a potential buyer who appears highly interested. However, be cautious as these individuals may be scammers employing a deceptive tactic. They often request your phone number under the pretense of verifying your legitimacy. They’ll ask you to send them the 6-digit verification code received via text, emphasizing that you should reply within the platform where your item is listed. Stay vigilant and avoid falling victim to this scam.

While the request may seem innocent at first, let’s uncover the truth behind this scheme. The scammer’s intention is to create a Google Voice number connected to your phone number. By coaxing you into sharing the verification code, they gain the ability to finalize the account setup. This enables them to hide their true identity behind your phone number. Moreover, if the scammer obtains your Google Voice verification code along with other personal information, they can impersonate you and fraudulently open new accounts in your name. Stay vigilant and be aware of these deceptive tactics to safeguard yourself from potential harm.


A seller shared their encounter while using Facebook Marketplace to list an item. They received a message from an interested buyer who requested permission to call or text them. The buyer then proposed a verification process, stating that if the seller could prove their authenticity, they would trust and arrange a meeting. Specifically, the buyer asked for permission to send a verification code to the seller’s phone number. Sensing something was amiss, the seller became suspicious and questioned whether it was a scam. As a result, the seller never heard from the individual again. This account highlights the seller’s astuteness in recognizing the potential scam and avoiding further interaction.

How to avoid phone number hijacking scams.

  • Guard your personal information. It’s important to remember that sharing your phone number is not a requirement when conducting transactions on online marketplaces. Prioritize verifying the identity of the person you are communicating with before divulging such personal information. It is advisable to exercise caution and refrain from providing your phone number in public social media posts. Safeguarding your privacy and security should always be a top priority when engaging in online sales
  • Watch out for red flags. Exercise caution when encountering individuals who present deals that appear too good to be true, such as overpaying for an item you have listed for sale. Likewise, be wary of individuals who employ high-pressure tactics, urging you to expedite the transaction hastily. These can be red flags indicating potential scams or fraudulent activities. Take your time, evaluate offers carefully, and trust your instincts when engaging in transactions to protect yourself from potential risks and fraudulent schemes.
  • Understand marketplace policies. Most online marketplaces encourage you NOT to make transactions outside of the platform. If someone asks you to carry out transactions elsewhere, be wary. Understand how the platform you use verifies both sellers and buyers and sticks to their guidelines when selling and buying items.
  • How To Avoid Malware Article HERE
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The old adage, “buyer beware” also applies to sellers! Remain vigilant when dealing with people online and you can avoid phone number hijacking scams!

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