Scam Alert: ‘Google called, it’s for you’

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Unfortunately, unscrupulous people sometimes try to use highly visible brand names to scam and defraud others.  A Huntsville man says this recently happened to him. WHNT News 19 decided to take action to explain what you need to watch out for if ‘Google comes calling.’

“Like I said, I’ve never heard of Google doing anything like that.”

That’s right.  James Hilliard says Wednesday morning he got a call from someone claiming be from Google, informing him his Gmail account had been compromised and was sending obscene content without his knowledge. Then, says Hilliard, came the recommendation he contact a company in Georgia called Ask Mask, LLC.

“I was told I needed to send them like $99, you know, and they would straighten all that out for me. So, they kept transferring me from one person to another, you know, and oddly enough they all sounded the same,” Hilliard remembers.

That was enough of a red flag for Hilliard, but watch out for parties calling and selling services claiming to have a special relationship with or claiming to be Google. The company says often, these parties are telemarketers that are not affiliated with Google and are trying to leverage the Google brand to sell you some type of online service. Google does not place calls to individual users.

“She wanted a credit card number and I told her I don’t give my number out to anybody.”

Ding, ding, ding! Hilliard got it right and urges others not to get hooked​.

Google has several helpful links with information for people who have been targeted by people misusing the Google brand.

If you have a consumer concern, you can also call the WHNT News 19/Better Business Bureau Action Line at (256) 850-0719.