For small and large businesses alike, Google has become an integral part of their business model. Many companies use Google Adwords and Adsense for advertising and ad revenue, plus Gmail for business email accounts. The problem: The popularity of these services has turned into a goldmine for scammers. Outlined below are five typical scams with tips on how to avoid them.
1. Google Account Recovery by Text Message – If you ever receive an unsolicited text message from Google stating that there is a problem with your account or that it has been compromised, be very cautious. Don’t respond to the text or provide any personal information.
2. Top Placement in AdWords – No company can guarantee top placement in Google AdWords. This program is based on a bid-for-placement model. Even if you make the top bid on a keyword for ad placement, someone else can easily outbid you. Be wary of any company that claims it can guarantee placement.
3. Fake Invoices – Watch out for bogus invoices for services like Google Maps. There is no charge for this service. Just like the office supply scam, con artists count on a company paying this invoice without verifying it authenticity first.
4. Fake Google Telemarketers – Do not do business with anyone who makes an unsolicited call to you claiming to be from Google and offering special products or services. According to Google, they do not:
- “Place robocalls.
- Call to “update your front page listing” or ask you to “claim your free website.”
- Charge for inclusion in Google Search or Google My Business.”
5. Google AdSense Payments – Google AdSense allows website owners place ads from Google on their website and receive revenue from those ads. Scammers have contacted unsuspecting AdSense subscribers claiming that there was money in their account that needed to be returned to them. Before that could be done, the subscriber had to send in a “security deposit”. This is a scam. First, the AdSense program is free. Second, Google does not require any form of payment
to release funds due to a subscriber.
For more security tips, go to the Google Security FAQ.