Google Docs is an excellent way to store and edit your documents in the Cloud, and it’s free with any Google account. Unfortunately, scammers have found a way to exploit Google Docs and use the service to defraud unsuspecting consumers. It’s the latest twist on the common phishing scam.
The Google Docs phishing scheme works by informing consumers that their Gmail accounts will be deactivated within three days if they don’t reply with their passwords. But that isn’t true — Google isn’t deactivating anyone’s Gmail, and answering the scam will only lead to a hacked account, a computer virus or even identity theft.
Here’s how to avoid this phishing scam:
Scammers Use Google Docs for Phishing Fraud
It’s hard to imagine that someone could ever think of using something as awesome as Google Docs for evil, but scammers never hesitate to sink to new lows. Everybody’s favorite cloud-based application suite and storage system has been used for fraudulent purposes by scammers looking to steal themselves some identities.
Folks over at the Sophos Naked Security blog have actually received multiple emails from a number of phishing campaigns trying to use Google Docs to steal email passwords and other sensitive information:
“…the link points to a page on Google Docs (docs.google.com). That gives the link a false aura of legitimacy. But what the link can’t do is tell you whether the Google account holder is legitimate or up to no good.”
As with many phishing scams, this one tries to lure victims into its trap by exploiting Google’s trusted name.They’re hoping that consumers will see Google’s logo and assume the emails are legitimate. It’s a technique known as spoofing.
But with a little bit of Internet savvy, it’s usually easy to spot fraud and scams on the Web, especially when they’re delivered straight to your inbox. This latest scam is a great example.
Know The Warning Signs to Avoid Email Scams
One of the first things you might notice about this most recent phishing scam is that recipients are getting emails saying their accounts will be deactivated in three days.
Email providers almost never delete accounts in such a short time period. Plus, a popular service like Google deleting customer accounts would be all over the news.
Another tip-off is the fact that this scam is pointedly asking consumers for their email login information.
Remember, companies like Google will never ask you to send your password or other personal information in an unsolicited email.
If you get a suspicious email and you’re not sure whether it’s legitimate, always do a quick Google search before you actually give away your personal information or check Scambook for complaints.
Have You Seen This Scam?
Are there any Scambook readers out there that have received this particular scam email? If so, let us know. Click here if you’d like to file a complaint on Scambook.
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