Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) — The Better Business Bureau is warning residents of southwest Louisiana of a new scam targeting people who post items for sale on sites such as Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Scammers have also targeted people who use these sites to find a lost pet.
Scammers will attempt to contact people when they post an item for sale or are looking for their pet. But they’ll say that before they commit to buying the item or returning the pet, they want to make sure you’re a real person or the real owner of the pet.
The scammer will ask for your phone number so they can text you a verification code. They will then ask you to send them the 6-digit code on the site you are using.
Although it may seem reasonable, the scammer is setting up a Google Voice number tied to your phone. By sending them the verification code, the scammer is able to complete the account setup. Then the scammer uses your number to scam other people and hide their identity. Also, if a scammer gets your Google Voice verification code and other information about you, they can impersonate you and open new accounts in your name.
Protect your personal information. You don’t need to give someone your phone number to make a sale on an online marketplace. Make sure you know who you’re talking to before sharing. Never give out your phone number in public social media posts.
Beware of red flags. Avoid doing business with people who offer you deals that seem too good to be true (i.e. overpaying for an item you’ve listed) or people who pressure you to make a deal. transaction quickly.
Understand market policies. Most online marketplaces encourage you NOT to trade outside of the platform. If someone asks you to transact elsewhere, beware. Understand how the platform you’re using verifies both sellers and buyers, and follow their guidelines when selling and buying items.
Report suspicious activity
You can report suspicious activity to market platforms and BBB using their Scam Tracker. Even if you weren’t a victim of the scam, your experience could help others stay alert.
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