Fake Google Emails Open Users to ID Theft, Warns Better Business Bureau

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Googlelogo[1]Google has over 500 million active Gmail users and unfortunately hackers are trying to use the Google brand to scam and defraud consumers. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is issuing a warning to Google users about scam emails that may hit their inboxes.

The scam works by receiving a message that appears to be about the user’s Google or Gmail account. The scam email either informs account holders that they have exceeded their email limit quota or they have a deferred email. The fraudulent messages have a link in them with a request to click for more information.

“These scammers pose as the Google team to make the emails look authentic,” says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “By clicking on the link you will download malware that can search for your banking and personal information.”

The BBB recommends the following tips to help spot fake emails from Gmail:

Check out the “From” field. Scammers have the ability to mask email addresses, making the message appear to come from a legitimate source. The “Google” emails aren’t actually from a @google.com address.

Watch for typos, strange phrasing and bad grammar. Scammers can easily copy a brand’s logo and email format, but awkward wording and poor grammar are typically giveaways that the message is a scam. The phrases “limit quota” and “deferred email” are signs that the writer is purposely being vague or is not familiar with the English language, which should arouse suspicion.

Hover your cursor over URLs to reveal their true destination. Typically, the hyperlinked text will say one thing but the link will point somewhere else. Scammers either set up fake websites or hack into third-party sites and use them to host malware.

Watch for look-alike URLs. Be wary of sites that have the brand name as a subdomain of another URL (i.e. brandname.scamwebsite.com) or part of a longer URL (i.e. companynamecustomersupport.com).

For more information, visit www.bbb.org, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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