Google Ban Scam: How It Works
In the last twelve years, Google has become the undisputed number one search engine in the entire world, recording today over 70,000 searches done every second. Needless to say, we are all looking for all kinds of answers every day, whether it's for knowledge or simply for finding an address. Unfortunately, criminals prey on people's naivety and continuously come up with all kinds of fraudulent practices. Google's name has been associated with a few scams in the past year, such as the Google Grant Scam, the Fake Calendar Invite or the Google Notification. However, the latest online trap going around these days is the Google Restrictions Scam, aka the Google Ban.
There are two variations of the scam: the Google Settings Change and the Illegal Activity. How do they work? Let's take a look at both.
Watch the video below to see the Google Settings version exposed:
Scammers send emails or even leave voice messages on your phone informing that Google has found some security issues on your account. If you call the number provided, they will ask a series of personal information questions. To prove they are 'real', they may also ask if you did some recent changes on your account – eg. name, address, etc. – or if you tried to access some public wi-fi networks lately, which is most likely.
They would also say that the Google Security Team has noticed that someone has tried to change a few settings on your account. This fact, they say, raised a red flag that generated the call.
The caller may ask you to open various websites such as 'css validators' of your email, action which is followed by all kinds of errors, 'proofing' that your account needs some fixing.
In the second variation of the scam, you receive an email claiming to be from Google, with the title subject: "Hacker Restriction Illegal Activity", as you can see in the image below. You are informed that your account would be temporarily disabled, due to some reported abuse and illegal activity observed on your account. The email address scammers use it's a very official-looking one, such as Google@account.com.
If you click on the button, a Google look-alike website will pop up. It will ask you to log in by providing them with your email address, password, and many other credentials. Once you give scammers that information, you can rest assured that your account will be ravaged extremely soon.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Google Restrictions Scam: How To Avoid
Do not click on the link/button provided. The best thing to do in this case is to log into your account straight from Google's website, by typing google.com in your browser first. Another good thing to do is download the Google mobile app on your smartphone. In a case of an unusual transaction on your account, you will get a pop-up notification on your cell. Just make sure your app settings allow that.
Google Restrictions Scam: How To Report
Make your family and friends aware of the Google Ban scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
Google Statistics: Facts and Numbers
From the educational perspective, it is interesting to look over some statistics that Google has this year. Here are some Google stats that deserve to be shared. Do you know how many daily Google searched are performed in one day? Answer: 3.5 billion! The volume of Google searches grows by roughly 10% every year and between 16%-20% of Google searches are new, that have never been searched before. In terms of shopping, 35% of product searches start on Google, while 34% of the "near me" searches result in store visits. Last but not least, the average Google search session lasts just under a minute. Did you know all of this?
One last statistic worth mentioning is the breakdown for how a Google search is done by the number of words. According to Rand Fishkin, here they are: 1 word: 22%; 2 words: 24%; 3 words: 19%; 4 words: 13%; 5 words: 9% 6+ words: 12%. What's your style?
How to Protect Yourself More
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