Facebook Marketplace Asking for Phone Number [Beware]


Did you just receive a message from a potential looking buyer saying that he/she is very interested in your listed item/product? But to continue, he/she needs to first verify you as if you are a real seller having a real product listing.

Beware: It’s a scam, and don’t provide your phone number or any code that you receive on your phone to the scammer.

Is it safe to provide phone number on Facebook marketplace?

It’s not safe to give your phone number on Facebook Marketplace. It’s a new way to scam people online. The Federal Trade Commission has warned of a verification scam targeting people who sell items on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

The FTC calls it the Google Voice scam and says it can lead to someone using your phone number to conceal their identity and rip off other people.

How does Facebook Marketplace Scam Asking for phone verification work?

This phone verification scam process works like this. The scammer sends you a message saying that they are interested in buying the item/product that you listed.

They will either ask you to send your personal number or send their phone number and ask you to text them.

Then they’ll say that they’re hesitant to proceed because they’ve heard about fake online product listings. So they want to verify if you are a real person.

To confirm your listing is legitimate, they’ll send you a six-digit Google Voice verification code.

“If your post is real, send me the code, then I’ll call,” one scammer texted.

How scammer benefits if you give your phone number

What’s really happening is that the scammer is setting up a Google Voice number linked to your phone number.

If you send the verification code, the scammer will be able to complete the account setup. Then, the scammer can then use that phone number to conceal their identity.

Or, if a scammer gets your Google Voice verification code and other information about you, they can pretend to be you and open new accounts in your name.

Caleb Barlow, a cyber-security consultant in Newburyport added:

“The [scammer is] now going to use that voice account to either make robocalls or purport a fraud to someone else, maybe a phishing scheme. What’s so unique about this is that you’re just one link in the chain of building this overall fraud.”

How to avoid scammers on Facebook Marketplace

Don’t share your personal phone number on Facebook Marketplace with anyone. Keep your personal information private especially if you don’t know the person.

Avoid sparkling offers or people who offer you deals that sound too good to be true. Never deal with them or perform any transaction with them.

To make sure that you have a safer online experience, many online marketplaces encourage you to NOT DEAL OUTSIDE the platform. If someone asks you to perform a deal outside, it will be a red flag.

Understand the marketplace policies and stick to the rules. Understand how the marketplaces work and always check for the authenticity of the buyer or seller that you are dealing with.


Why someone will ask you for phone number on Facebook Marketplace?

They trick you to show they are interested and want your phone number in order to gather and use your personal information for harmful purposes like pretending to be you and scamming others.

Should I give someone on Facebook Marketplace my phone number?

You really don’t need to give someone your phone number on the Facebook marketplace. You can use messenger and conversate with the buyer/seller in order to complete the deal.

What if you fall a victim of phone number verification scam?

If you have unknowingly sent a verification code to the scammer and he has set up a Google voice number on your behalf, you can reclaim your number by following this process.

Why do people ask for Google Verification code on the Facebook marketplace?

Scammers look for people selling items online and message them as if they are interested buyers. Then they ask about a Google Voice verification code sent to the seller. They ask the seller to share the code in order to verify that they are a real seller. But they are going to use that code to verify their Google Voice account in order to scam other people.


Now that you know, hopefully, you will be safe and have a better experience using Facebook and other marketplaces online. You can read more about this scam on the Federal Commission blog.


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