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The original item was published from 8/30/2019 1:23:00 PM to 12/1/2019 12:00:05 AM.

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Posted on: August 30, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Scam Alert from the Benbrook Police

Scam Alert Graphic

The Benbrook Police Department would like to make everyone aware of a new scam involving text verification codes.

You are probably familiar with verification codes. If a company or website needs to verify your identity, they will send you a text message with a 6-digit code. You then use this code to verify your identity.

But now scammers are using the verification code process to create false accounts on Craigslist and other sites. Here’s how it works:

1. The scammer looks for someone who is selling something online and has included their phone number. That’s how they find your phone number.

2. The scammer will go to Craigslist and start the process of creating a new account. Craigslist requires that any new account provide a phone number, so the scammer will use YOUR number.

3. However, Craigslist also will require that the number is VERIFIED. So the scammer will send you a text message saying they want to buy the item you are selling online.

4. After you reply, the scammer says something like, “There’re a lot of scammers on Craigslist these days. I’d like to verify it is you first. I just sent a code on your phone. To prove you’re a real person, reply to this text and tell me the code.”

5. Craigslist sends the verification code to you -- because the scammer is using YOUR phone number to create the account.

6. When you send the scammer the code, he uses it to finish creating the scam Craigslist account – which is associated with YOUR phone number.

7. Any spam or illegal activities the scammer now does on the account is connected to your phone number. In addition, if you try to register an account on Craigslist, you probably won’t be able to do so, since your phone number has a bad history.

This process also can also be used with Google. The scammer uses your phone number to get their own Google Voice number, so they can make phone calls and send text messages to scam other people. Basically they will conduct scams and leave YOU associated with them.

BOTTOM LINE: Never give out a verification code. 

Benbrook Police Dept. non-emergency number: 817-249-1610. 

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