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To prevent fraud, we require the users to link their account to a mobile phone number. We send a code by SMS.

Fraudsters use hacked social networks to convince "friends" to send them the code they will receive.

Even if the message clearly say not to give this message to an other person, they still do:

Verification code mysite.com: 12345 Never communicate this code to someone else!

How do you lower the rate of this issue? Or fight it?

EDIT: We run a classified ad website. We only allow national mobile numbers for account verification. We aggressively block virtual (shared) numbers. So Fraudsters use this technic to be able to validate their account with a legit national number. They use elite proxies so it is not possible to geolocate them precisely.

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    You cannot do much besides share stories and teach people all the scary things that can happen if you give keys like that away. I also agree with the answer below. You could set a timer, but that can also be worked around. A 15-30 sec timer is usually an average time span to still allow verification. For some lower security applications, 1 min could be acceptable.
    – love2phish
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 17:24
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    I would suggest you check out 3-factor authentication. 3-factor authentication is not really present in today's society but I have a feeling it will grow in popularity in the near future. It uses a password and text/message as 2-factor authentication uses but it also requires a biometrics key. It is not used commonly because of the verification types it demands but it may be worth it if one is trying to have even a small amount of faith in their security system.
    – love2phish
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 17:28
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    It is a classified ad website, so 3FA will not be possible. :(
    – Toto
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 17:43
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    That's sad to hear... Sorry I couldn't be much more help.
    – love2phish
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 20:34
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    I see.... Well, I would really like to hear about it if you find a solution because I'm stumped. I am sure there is a way to fix your problem I just have to look harder and might take a while.
    – love2phish
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 21:22

1 Answer 1

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im not sure you can prevent this using your current mechanics.

one solution has a timer on the code, but this is also easily thwarted depending on the bounty ($$) of that code.

Verification code mysite.com: 12345 Valid for 15 seconds.

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  • We tried and it failed in our case because the fraudster stays online with the victim by Instant Messaging (FB, Whatsapp, etc). :( These fraudsters are clever...
    – Toto
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 17:45
  • I don't doubt - you will need to assess "at risk" users - and implement stronger security - you can spot check them by a physical phone call. Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 20:12
  • 123456 is your XXXXXX OTP. Do not share it with anyone. (If this is you? I might suggest something.) Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 18:46

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