The internet is fast becoming flooded by scammers of various kind, one has to pay extra attention and precautions while interacting with strangers online so as not the fall victim to these swindlers. They are in every nook and cranny of the internet on every platform you can think of, ready to steal your data an extort you of hard earned cash. Online scams these days take several approaches, the one under discussion is the Google voice verification scam. It is one that quite notorious on classified ads sites especially Craigslist, so much so that it has been dubbed “Craigslist voice verification scam”. The scam is also carried out on other social platforms as well, the singular aspect of your details they require is your phone number. Dating sites and social media are not left out.

The Aim

Well, if you fell victim for this scam, you can be relieved that no direct monetary loss is involved or any direct harm to you. But don’t get too comfortable as a stranger is in control of a phone number connected and directly linked to yours and your google accounts. And that’s by far the closest the effect of any reprehensible act the scammer commits on the phone number with him can affect you. The true benefit to the scammer is not from you, your number is just an intermediary. The aim is to get a secondary number from Google voice through you. This phone number is free and is given to you by Google when you open a google voice account. It is a virtual phone number that can be linked to any phone and can perform all the basic function of a regular phone number.

The Method

Usually, you would have posted your phone number and a few other details on some online platform. The scammer calls you and comes up with some excuse or reason for you to share a confirmation or verification code that would be sent to you by google. “How can anyone fall for that?” you ask? Well the scammer usually gives a compelling or at least reasonable reason for you to do so. For example as a seller who posted an ad on Craigslist, they could tell you that the verification code is to confirm your identity or prove that you are not a bot or so on. And even though in the later text you will receive from google explicitly warns you not to share the code with another party, most people who fall victim just ignore the warning and send the verification code to the scammer anyway.

The trick/Scam

While the victim thinks he just confirmed that he’s human, the reality is that he just confirmed his phone number for the verification of a virtual Google Voice phone number which the scammer has been setting up. Once you give the code to the scammer, he can get a fresh phone number from google, free of charge, this phone number can in turn be used to commit other myriad of internet scams and activities and it’s all tied to your real phone number – Not that this has any specific harm to you though, but it makes one cringe that a scammer is using me in some scam.


You can stop cringing now, there is a solution to the google voice verification scam and you can reclaim your phone number from the scammers. It majorly involves the same method the scammer used in setting up the google number in the first place and it will be discussed in the following steps:

Step 1: Click on this link, it will take you to a page where you the google voice page, select ‘get google voice’ and follow the steps to set up a google voice account. But if you already have one set up you can just go ahead and continue from step 4.

Step 2: In the set-up process, you will be required to give a forwarding number. You should enter a different number, probably a friend’s or a family member’s number. Not to worry, you can disable this number once you have reclaimed the stolen number.

Step 3: You will receive verification code via call from Google Voice (the same one you gave the scammer) on the phone number you provided. It is a six-digit code, enter it where it is required to confirm the registration.

Step 4: After the set-up is complete, go to your account page, find and click on settings or click on this link. You’ll see a + icon which signifies that you should add another forwarding phone number. Now enter the number you want to reclaim. If your number is still being used by the scammer, you will be notified that the number is currently in use by another account and be asked if you wish to reclaim it.  After you reclaim it, your number would be removed from the scammer’s account. Voila! you are now once again the sole owner of your phone number.


While one can only do his best to protect your information and data from scammers, we should not be too lenient in that end. Be careful of where you leave your phone number and other similar sensitive information, especially Craigslist. Also, whenever you receive a warning from a trusted platform not to share a code or information with a third party, pay more attention to the notice and follow the advice.