Watch out for this Facebook Marketplace scam that targets Google users

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Posted at 10:47 AM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 20:08:46-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - There's a new scam circulating Facebook Marketplace - scammers are using your phone number, plus a code, to get into your Google accounts.

A person may post something on Marketplace, like a couch, and moments later, someone messages saying they're interested. But instead of messaging on Facebook, the scammer asks for a phone number.

“She wanted to make sure that I wasn’t a scammer, so she needed my phone number,” Kathy Donovan said.

After Donovan gave the scammer her phone number, she got an alert on her phone from Google with a code. She then gave the scammer the code, but fortunately for Donovan, it didn't work. Donovan's phone number was already verified with Google, blocking access for the scammer.

“She kept on pestering me for other phone numbers, and I started wondering, 'Something’s not right about this... why would you need a different phone number?'" Donovan said.

She said that's when she realized she almost got caught up in a scam.

“I felt like an idiot when I realized the moment hit me that I’m being scammed, and I didn’t even see it coming,” Donovan said.

She said she quickly changed her passwords to all of her accounts and unlinked accounts from her Google.

“It was a huge hassle; you’ve got a password for everything,” Donovan said.

The Better Business Bureau has a few tips for dealing with this scam:

  • Be cautious giving your phone number to someone you don't know.
  • Contact Google support if there's suspicious activity on your account.
  • Use the BBB ScamTracker to make a report.

Donovan said she wants to warn others.

“I wasn’t aware that this kind of thing would ever be a problem. There was no concept in my head that somehow someone could get into my Google account and from there get all my information,” Donovan said.

Related: Tips for avoiding social media scams and fraud