I just got an email from Google Voice saying that my “Google Voice forwarding phone needs to be verified within 30 days”. What the deuce? Is it legit or some phishing scam? I’ve read enough of your articles to know that I need to be paranoid about links in any email message. So what’s the story, Dave, legit or bogus?
As with any email from any online service that informs you that something’s wrong, something needs to be verified, something is broken, and requires that you click on a specific link and enter account credentials should immediately be cause for alarm. Definitely never log in if it’s a situation like what I describe. Then again, the standard rule of thumb still works in this case anyway: If there’s a link in the email, just go to that same place on the Web site by typing in the home page URL — in this case http://www.google.com/voice/ — and clicking around until you find the recommended area.
In this particular instance, i also got one of these messages from Google Voice and mine was legit after close examination. One clue: I clicked on the link and was immediately shown my account settings and preferences on Google Voice, no login, no password required. That’s really hard to do if you’re spoofing the site on a third-party system.
Here’s how I validated my own Google Voice forwarding number…
First off, here’s the email I received from Gvoice with the request for me to validate the forwarding number:
Why do they do this? So you don’t do anything malicious by forwarding a phone line to an ex-boyfriend, the local pizzeria or the White House: if you don’t have access to the forwarded phone line, you should definitely not be using it!
Either click on the link or — recommended! — type in “google.com/voice” and log in to Google Voice then find “Phones” under settings. Somewhere on this page, you’ll see a warning box like this:
Ready to go and you have a phone on the forwarding number close at hand? Great. Click on “Verify Now” and it’ll prompt you with a two-digit security code that you’ll be required to enter:
Click “Connect” and within a few seconds your phone will ring and you’ll hear a recording. When prompted, enter the two digit confirmation code (in my case 73) to complete the verification.
Once it’s accepted the number it thanks you and disconnects.
Another moment or two and the little yellow box simply vanishes from your Gvoice settings:
Really, pretty easy. But as with all of these sort of things, being alert and vigilant is always the best policy!