EBay Kleinanzeigen, one of Germany’s most visited websites and the No. 1 horizontal in the country, has taken additional steps to protect its users by introducing SMS verification. For now, consumers can provide their phone numbers voluntarily, but soon the service will become mandatory.

The company said 250,000 people have opted to register with their phone numbers in the first weeks since launching the service. The company aims to protect its users from harassment and criminals.

“For us, SMS verification is a further measure to increase the security of our users on EBay Kleinanzeigen,” said Paul Heimann, managing director of the company. “We hope this will also have positive effects on the problem of sexual harassment.“ He added that the service will target those who anonymously harass children, adolescents and young women.

Initially, five categories require SMS verification, including “babysitters & children”, “mini & part-time jobs”, “animal care & training”, “tutoring” and “internships”. EBay Kleinanzeigen will then ask users to provide a valid telephone number, upon which a six-digit SMS code for verification will be sent.

The company has taken other steps to protect consumers. The “Pay safely“ service has been protecting buyers and sellers since October 2020. This ensures that buyers are entitled to get their money back if the item they bought was not delivered or does not match the description.

EBay Kleinanzeigen is part of Oslo-based marketplace operator Adevinta and currently lists around 48 million ads. Facebook Marketplace is considered one of the portal’s main competitors in Germany.

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