Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn., Watchdog column
The Watchdog, Feb 18, 2013 (Pioneer Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
and maybe you, too -- got an email recently addressed to "Dear Google User," saying: "Attached to this email is your anniversary notification for being an active user of Google."
All the Watchdog needed to do to get an award was open the attachment.
Tempting, but no. It's just one of the many spams, scams and phishing schemes that plagues Google. Scammers pretend to be from the giant technology company, which hit $50 billion in revenues last year, because so many people use Google daily.
A Google spokesman told the Watchdog that variations of this scam have circulated for years. If you get a Google-related message, he recommends checking bit.ly/YC6U06 for details about the common scams:
Lotto scam. It tells you you've won and asks for personal details and maybe for money to pay "fees" to release your prize.
Google Wallet/Checkout vehicle purchase scam. When you respond to an online ad for a cheap car, the "seller" sends an invoice that appears to be from Wallet -- but you're told to send the money through Western Union, MoneyGram or a bank transfer.
Google Maps fake invoices. Google doesn't charge for being included.
Telemarketing calls. These come from scammers claiming to be Google or to have a special relationship with Google. But Google doesn't place robocalls, ask you to "claim your free website" or "update your front page listing" or charge to be in Google Search or Places.
Scammers send messages saying that if you don't "update" your Gmail account info, your account will be suspended.
Also on the subject of Google, be wary of emails that contain purported offers to share a Google-hosted document with you.
Clicking a link in such an email takes you to a page where you are prompted to log in to your Google account (or other kinds of accounts, like Yahoo) to supposedly access the document.
At this point, alarms should be going off in your head (especially if that email isn't from someone you know).
The Internet is replete with attempts to coax a log-in out of you, which gives away your username and password and allows your account to be accessed and commandeered for likely nefarious purposes.
You might run into another example of this on Twitter. You'll receive a direct message appearing to come from a friend. The playfully worded, sloppily written direct message entices you into clicking a link to supposedly view a video in which you appear, or some other such thing.
Clicking the link often will take you to what looks like a Twitter log-in page. It's not. (You're already logged in to Twitter, silly).
Don't type in your credentials, or you'll allow your Twitter account to be hijacked.
Those hijacked accounts are the ones sending out the bogus direct messages.
If you've already fallen for this, change your password and alert those your account spammed so they don't make the mistake you and untold other Twitter users have.
Feel like an underdog because of a problem with a business, government agency or school To ask the Watchdog for help, go to TwinCities.com/watchdog, call 651-228-5419 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at twitter.com/ pioneerwatchdog.
___ (c)2013 the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.) Visit the Pioneer Press (St.
Paul, Minn.) at www.twincities.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]