How To Recover From Google Voice Scams

Google Voice scammers want your verification code to create a Google Voice phone number linked to you. Scammers then use that phone number to steal your identity, access your online accounts, or run scams on others.
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Google Voice is a telephone service that provides you with a phone number of your choosing. With your Google Voice phone number, you can make domestic and international calls, send texts, and receive voicemails from your web browser or smartphone.

So why would scammers want to trick you into giving up access to your Google Voice phone number? Because the scammer can use your verification code to link a Google Voice number to your account. The Google Voice phone number can then be used by the scammer to commit crimes or access personal data — all while being linked to your account and information.

Learn more about how to avoid falling victim to Google Voice scams and the best identity theft services available to help you prevent future cybercrimes.

In this article
What to do if you suspect a Google Voice scam
How to recover your Google Voice number from a scammer
How do Google Voice scams work?
Tips to protect yourself on Google Voice
FAQs
Bottom line: Keep your Google verification codes a secret

What to do if you suspect a Google Voice scam

If someone contacts you and asks you to provide a Google Voice verification code for any reason, they are trying to scam you. It’s that simple.

Follow these guidelines if you suspect you’re a Google Voice scam victim. Google Help also provides additional information on how to avoid and report Google scams based on the type of scam.

Document any supporting evidence

If you are a victim of a Google Voice scam, the Federal Trade Commission encourages you to report it. Documentation can help show that someone did, in fact, attempt to convince you to provide your Google Voice verification number.

Be sure to keep any emails or text messages that the scammer sends requesting your information. That way, there will be a paper trail in case you ever need to prove that a fraudster opened the account in your name.

Block the scammer

There’s no reason to continue engaging with someone who has tried to scam you. If you got a phishing email, block messages from that sender (or filter them so they go directly into your trash). Your email program should allow you to do that. Refer to your email provider's help section to find out how.

If you received a scam phone call, block the number.

On iPhones, you can do this by adding them to your contacts and then going to Settings > Phone > Blocked Contacts > Add New.

On Android devices, click on the number you want to block in Call History and tap the option to Block / report spam.

Disconnect your Google Voice number

If someone has created a Google Voice number in your name, you can reclaim it or disconnect it.

To reclaim your Google Voice number:

  • Open Google Voice on your computer and sign in with your Google Account.
  • Click Settings on the top right and then click Account on the left.
  • Once you receive a message stating "You don't have a Google Voice number," click Get a number.
  • Once you have found the phone number you want to reclaim, click Reclaim and follow the on-screen instructions to verify the number.

To delete your Google Voice number:

  • Open Google Voice and sign in with your Google account.
  • Select Account under the Settings button.
  • Find the number opened without your consent and click Delete.

Report the fraud to online marketplaces

If someone stole your Google Voice information after contacting you on an online marketplace such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist, you should report the fraud to the site operator.

The Facebook Help Center has detailed instructions for reporting fraud, as does eBay. Craigslist suggests blocking and flagging fraudulent posts but doesn't have any specific mechanism to report fraud to the website itself.

Report the fraud to the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission also urges you to report Google Voice scams. You can do so online at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/.

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If you’re worried about your personal information being stolen, you may want to consider investing in an identity theft protection service.

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How to recover your Google Voice number from a scammer

If you have a Google Voice number linked to your account and it’s claimed, someone else is using it with a different Voice account. If that person is a scammer and you still own the number, there are ways to get it back. Here are the steps to take.

1. Visit the Google Voice website

You can go to voice.google.com to open up the website where you can reclaim your number.

2. Open up the Settings menu and find the number linked to your account

Once you're at voice.google.com, select the Settings menu in the top right corner. You will be presented with a number of options. Select + New linked number under the Linked numbers section.

Google Voice account menu

3. Enter the phone number you want to link and verify your number

You'll need to know the number that the scammer is using. Input that information and then verify your number by sending a code to your mobile phone or by having Google call you with a code.

Once you correctly enter the code, you can click Verify. You’ll then be given the option to reclaim it by clicking Claim. This will link the number to your account again.

Feel like your AI assistants are spying on you? Up your privacy by turning off your Google Voice history.

How do Google Voice scams work?

Scammers often target people who are selling items online, or they may pretend to have an item for sale. This is common among Facebook marketplace scams.

Scammers may tell you they want to buy something you're selling. Or they may say they want to sell you something (often for a great deal) and will send you a code to verify your identity. When that code comes from Google, and you provide it to them, the scammer can then open a Google Voice account in your name.

Other sneaky techniques exist. Sometimes, fraudsters will contact you and tell you they found your missing pet or stolen jewelry and want you to "verify" your identity by providing them with a code they use to open a Google Voice account in your name.

Scammers can then use the phone number, which is linked to your personal information, to engage in other criminal activity like phishing scams. They'll use the Google Voice phone number in your name to contact others. They may also try to access your personal information through Google to open other accounts in your name or engage in other kinds of identity theft.

Tips to protect yourself on Google Voice

It's best to avoid falling victim to a Google Voice scam in the first place, even though there are ways to recover if this happens to you. Here are some steps to take.

1. Never give out your Google Voice verification code. Google warns that you should never provide your Google Voice verification code to anyone. Keeping this information safe is a good way to prevent identity theft since it can't be misused if you don't share it.

2. Always verify the identity of the person or organization. One of the best ways to stay safe online is to always verify the identity of any individual or organization who asks for your information. For example, if someone calls and says they are from a veterinary office and have your lost pet, find out the name of the office. Hang up, look up the office's website online, and call back yourself.

3. Be wary of urgent messaging and other high-pressure tactics. Scammers often try to get you to act based on fear. If anyone is claiming you must urgently act to avoid serious consequences, this is a red flag that you're being scammed.

4. Don’t disclose personal information like your address or cell phone number. Most legitimate companies will not ask for personally identifiable information online or via email.

5. Always question the legitimacy of unsolicited communications, including messages, links, or offers. You should never click on unsolicited links in emails or messages. Always go to company websites yourself from trusted links.

6. Invest in identity theft protection. Identity theft protection services can alert you if your information has fallen into the wrong hands. Signing up can help you to protect your identity and take swift action if it is compromised.

FAQs


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How do I find my Google Voice verification code?

When you sign up for a Google Voice account, Google will text you a verification code. Do not provide this code to anyone, as scammers routinely try to obtain verification codes to open Google Voice accounts in other people's names.


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Why would someone send me a Google Voice code?

Someone could send you a Google Voice code to try to open a Google Voice account linked to your personal information. Scammers often do this because they can then obtain a phone number they can use to perpetrate other frauds.


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What happens if you give someone your Google Voice code?

If you give someone a Google Voice code, they can obtain a Google Voice phone number linked to your account and information. They can then commit crimes using this telephone number, such as phone scams where they try to get people to send them money or provide other personal identifying details. This is a common Google voice scam.


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What if a scammer has my phone number?

If a scammer has your phone number, you should block them when they attempt to call you and avoid answering the phone. You can document any communications and, if they try to scam you, report them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/ and file a report with local law enforcement.

It’s also worth checking out Google Help, which provides more information on how to avoid and report Google scams based on the type of scam. 


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What does a scammer do with Google Voice?

A scammer can use a Google Voice phone number linked to your account to perpetrate other types of fraud. For example, they might call someone and pretend to be a friend in trouble, asking their victim to wire money. They'd do this from your phone number, so the scam could be traced back to your account.


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How do I get rid of a Google Voice scammer?

At voice.google.com, you can reclaim or delete Google Voice numbers that have been linked to your account.

Bottom line: Keep your Google verification codes a secret

There's a very simple way to avoid falling victim to Google Voice scams. Do not give out your Google verification code, ever. You can also avoid many scams by simply not answering telephone calls from unknown phone numbers and not providing personal information of any sort to people or companies you don't personally contact or know.

There are many scammers out there, so it is up to you to keep your information safe and secure. The best identity theft services can help, too, as fraudsters keep trying new tactics to separate you from your information or your hard-earned money.

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Author Details
Christy Rakoczy, an identity theft expert with a JD from UCLA’s School of Law, has over a decade of experience writing about cybersecurity issues and laws surrounding identity fraud. Formerly a college instructor, she taught courses focused on legal issues surrounding internet privacy. When it comes to cybersecurity, Christy is deeply interested in promoting responsible practices such as keeping software up-to-date with security patches, selecting proper anti-virus software, and following best practices for passports.