Duped Again!

After writing a post eight days ago about the many scams I have encountered I was scammed again yesterday. This time the scam involves two really big companies. The scammer uses a loophole in Google Voice to steal identity. To get into the Google Voice program it needs your phone number and a control number. I don’t use Google Voice, but I have become aware of it through my Lions Club. Our Secretary uses that App for our club contact number.

Exactly My Experience

The second company involved is Facebook. I am a Facebook user. I became hooked on their Marketplace feature. It is a valuable tool for selling, or buying stuff. It is easy to use and they provide many groups that are online to spread the word about any item I want to sell. I’m still in a downsize mode so I am still getting rid of things which I have little or no use for. Currently, I have sixteen items for sale. This week I listed a number of things that I have been tripping over for months and need to eliminate. These items are still useful, just not to me.

One item is a pile of left over composite flooring. I recently finished a floor for which I ordered ten percent more material than was necessary in case I had a problem. It is enough to finish a small room. I was lucky that I didn’t make a lot of mistakes so I had boards left over. They were not in the original packaging so I couldn’t return them to the supplier, and I choose to find a buyer. I hit the finish button on Marketplace and within a minute I get a reply that someone was interested. This kind of response is not unusual, but it doesn’t happen for every item. I responded to the inquiry that the boards were still available. A lady named Sasha replied “Ok cell number please.” Still not strange, I thought she wanted to call me to discuss the item. I gave her my cell number. She replied “Ok, I want to purchase it, I sent a 6 digit google voice code. If your post is real, send me the code. Then I’ll call.”

A few seconds later I got, “DId you get the code?” in large letters. I thought it was a little strange to want this in such a hurry, but I was fumbling with my phone trying to retrieve the code she sent. I finally found it, and texted the code. While I awaited the next move I searched for Google Voice to learn more about it. While at that site, I saw the word scam attached to voice. “Oh no,” I said out loud. I knew immediately that I had been taken by a scam. I read the description of the scam and it was my experience to a tee. I never heard another word from the scam buyer. She got what she wanted my phone number and a code.

Smart Seller Shuts Down Scammer

I have been reading articles on how to undo this scam, but they are over my head. It’ll take a few more reads to understand all of it.

In the mean time, I want to unload on Google and Facebook. Both companies are actively building new businesses daily. This Voice thing is such a service. With all the available phone services on the market how could they think theirs would be competitive. The reason is simple, they make it FREE. All things Google are free. It is their business model. The problem is that by making it free, they make it easy for scammers to steal from the public. Google and Facebook both have so many free apps that users like me will take advantage of them. The problem is that I am too naive to believe someone is out to steal my identity. The result is that all these free services become froth with theft and become a huge problem for the one being stolen from. Is it my fault that I didn’t know that the Google Voice app existed and is vulnerable? Is it my fault for using Facebook Marketplace in good faith and leaving myself open to thieves? I guess the answer is yes it is my fault, but I also believe that this problem is bigger than me. Thousands of unsuspecting souls are using these apps not suspecting for a second that Facebook, or Google doesn’t give a rats ass about the people who kidnap their processes to use illegally. I’m sure that these two companies are so large that we are just collateral damage. I’m sure that I am asking too much of them to fix these security issues. They are much to preoccupied by their First Amendment violations and affecting the outcomes of elections to want to fix mediocre scams like the one above.

As a final word, I can only advise you to be especially careful when dealing with people on the internet. It is my experience that too many of them are into picking your pocket and/or using your name to do things you can’t even imagine much less do. Never, never, never, never send your code for anything to anyone even if you don’t know what they are talking about.