Did Your Friend Send You A Google Document? Here’s How The Scam Works
Are you a Gmail user? If you receive an email with a notification that a friend just sent you a Google document, take a second look. There is a new scam out there – but there is more than that. In an era where digital communication has become the norm, it’s essential to exercise caution when receiving unsolicited emails, especially those seemingly sent by friends or colleagues.
Recent trends have shown a surge in Gmail-related scams, where cybercriminals impersonate Google and exploit users’ trust in this popular platform. Whether posing as the fictitious “Google Foundation,” sending calendar invites, or crafting convincing notifications, these fraudulent actors constantly evolve tactics to deceive unsuspecting victims.
One of the most insidious and newer scams making the rounds involves a deceptively simple Google email. Let’s call it the Google Docs Scam. It features an attachment sent by someone you know. How does it work?
Watch the video below to see the Google Docs Phishing Scam exposed, or keep reading the more descriptive text version:
How The Google Docs Scam Works
You receive an email from a seemingly genuine sender, typically someone from your contacts list—a friend. The email’s subject line may vary, but it often offers you some benefit or advantage. For example, it might read, “Fwd: Benefits.” However, these subject lines can be tailored to suit any context, so always exercise caution.
As you open the email, you recognize the sender’s name, which adds an element of trust to the situation. The email’s content is often minimal, with a conspicuous invitation to open an attachment, claiming that “Ramona [insert your friend’s name] sent you a Google document.”
You can see the screenshot with that content below.
Friends With Bad Benefits
You’re not in immediate danger at this point, but the real threat lies beneath the surface. If you hover over and click the “Click Here” button to open the attachment, you unknowingly expose yourself to one of the latest and most dangerous malware threats.
This malicious file can also install a keylogger on your device, allowing cybercriminals to capture and record your keystrokes. This means that sensitive information, such as login credentials (emails and passwords) or financial transactions on your laptop, are stealthily transmitted to the scammer.
It’s essential to understand that the friend who appears to have sent you this email may have had their email address compromised. Many people wonder how such breaches occur, but there are numerous ways for scammers to gain unauthorized access to email accounts.
Watch the video below to see how scammers hack an email address without needing the password:
Google Docs Phishing Scam: How To Avoid
Given the prevalence of this scam, it’s crucial to stay vigilant. If you receive such an email, refrain from opening the document. The lesson is: don’t open docs unless you expect them. Instead, contact your friend, whose email address may have been used maliciously, and verify if they initiated the conversation. Once you’ve confirmed with your friend that the email is not legitimate, delete it and continue your day.
In the ever-evolving landscape of online threats, staying informed and cautious is your best defense against falling victim to scams. Don’t let a seemingly harmless email compromise your digital security.
Google Docs: How To Report Suspicious Activity
Warn your family and friends about the Google Docs phishing email by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using the link below:
How To Protect Yourself More
If you want to be amongst the first to receive notifications about the newest scams every week, subscribe to our Scam Detector newsletter. You will receive periodic emails from us with powerful and insightful tips. That will include how to prevent fraud plus information about the newest tools you can use to fight crime.
Meanwhile, feel free to educate yourself with some other fraud-related articles. They are listed under this paragraph, so that you know more about online security. Last but not least, if you have any bad experiences, make sure to use the comments section below to expose other scammers.
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