Note | This post is an updated version of a similar post shared in 2015.
Last week, a major phishing scam fooled hundreds of thousands of typically savvy internet users into clicking an email link that set off a hack impacting millions of users of Google Docs and G Mail. Without a doubt, Google has some of the world’s best engineers doing all they can to prevent such things from happening. However, being so big and dominant makes the company and its users a big target for criminal hackers. What should you do to protect yourself from scams and hacks directed towards you via Google? Here is a list of several Google scams with a link to support from Google on each one of them.
General tips for staying safe online
Link | Tips for staying safe online on Google.com
Get tips and advice for staying more secure on the web and an overview of some of the security tools that Google offers.
Google Lotto scam
Link | Google Lotto Scam on Google.com
How the scam works | You receive an email claiming that you’ve won a Google Lottery and are asked for personal details. In some cases the scammers also impersonate customs or tax officials and will ask you to provide additional information or pay a fee to release the funds (such as a money release fee, currency exchange, courier or shipping fees, tax fees, etc.). Google doesn’t run lotteries, and your email address hasn’t been selected to win a prize. Do not reply back with your personal details
Gmail Tech Support Scam
Link | Gmail Tech Support Scam on Google.com
“Help! I can’t remember my Gmail address. What was my password anyway?” Looking for Gmail Tech Support? Be aware of third-party websites that claim to offer technical support for Gmail and other Google products. These contacts and their websites have no affiliation to Google and may claim to provide password reset assistance as well as other Gmail related support services. In addition, these sites may require the submission of payment for their support services. Google does not charge users to recover their account credentials or change their password.
Google Wallet vehicle purchase scam
Link | Google Wallet Vehicle Purchase Scam on Google.com
You find a cheap car online, and the seller claims that for your protection the purchase will be completed via Google Wallet. The car price is “too good to be true” and the seller claims a need to sell the car quickly because he or she is moving, moving out of the country, being called for military service, getting a divorce, etc. The reality is that there is no car, and you won’t be using Google Wallet. Instead, the seller will send you an invoice that appears to be from Google Wallet, but will instruct you to make the payment via Western Union, MoneyGram or bank transfer.
Google Job Offer Scam
Link | Google Job Offer Scam on Google.com
This type of scam operates by telling people they have been given a job with Google or another company. However, you have to pay a training fee (or some other type of fee) before you can start. In addition, you are asked to complete employment forms requiring that you provide your personal identifying information. The scam artist may even insist on conducting an “interview” through Google Hangouts.
In reality, you have not been given a job with Google, but rather you may have been tricked into sending money to a scam artist.
Google Account Recovery Scam via SMS Messages
Link | Google Account Recovery Scam via SMS Messages on Google.com
If you receive a text message claiming your Google Account has been compromised, use a computer to go to Google Account Security settings and review your recent activity to make sure no one unauthorized has accessed your account. Do not respond to unsolicited text messages with personal information. Also, beware of messages that claim Google needs to call you to verify your identity. Google will not send you a text message that asks you to respond by text or phone call to verify your identity if your account has been compromised.
Google top placement/SEO scam
Link | Google Top Placement/SEO Scam on Google.com
Google never guarantees top placement in search results or AdWords. Beware of any company making these types of promises.
Google Maps/SEO fake invoices
Link | Google Maps/SEO Fake Invoices on Google.com
Google does not charge for inclusion in Google Maps. Be wary of invoices for services received — especially if nobody in the business remembers purchasing those services. Make sure to perform due diligence on any financial transaction.
Google/Zagat job scam
Link | Google/Zagat Job Scam on Google.com
This type of scam operates by telling people they have been given a job with Google/Zagat. However, they have to pay a training fee (or some other type of fee) before they can start. In reality, they have not been given a job with Google, but rather they’ve been tricked into sending money to a scam artist.
Gmail update phishing
Link | Gmail Update Phishing on Google.com
Many phishers actively target Gmail users and attempt to steal their credentials. Phishers will often say that you need to update your Gmail account information or your account will be suspended. The link provided in the email will appear to be https://accounts.google.com, but in reality, the link will take the user to a site controlled by the phisher. Beware of these types of emails, and always double check that the URL in the address is what you expect before entering personal information or passwords.
Google AdSense Scam
Link | Google AdSense Scam on Google.com
If you’ve received an unsolicited phone call or e-mail from someone claiming to work for Google’s AdSense team asking for money, you may have been affected by a scam. The person will tell you that you have a balance sitting in a Google AdSense account that is refundable to you, but you must pay a security deposit in order to release the funds. You’ll then be given an address where you should mail the security deposit in the form of a certified check in order to receive your refund. The reality is, Google AdSense does not require payment in order to release funds owed to you and there is no fee to use our AdSense service.
Tax Payment Scam
Link | Tax Payment Scam on Google.com
You receive an unsolicited email or phone call purporting to be from the IRS or another tax authority. The IRS official instructs you to pay your tax debt using Google Play cards immediately or you will be arrested, deported or your license will be revoked. This is an IRS Scam.