The con looks to be fairly indiscriminate in who it’s getting sent to, as even officials in the Ohio Attorney General’s office have reported receiving the email. But, with a company like Google, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t using at least one of its services.
The email itself has had reports of various subject lines, but the body of it is a message from the “Google Team 2011,” asking for you to update your payment information. The email assures you that this information “will only be used and stored as part of re-enabling your account,” and asks that you log in at the website provided. This is, of course, a clever way to get your credit card information.
But what if Google actually needs updated account information? How are you supposed to know the real thing from the scam? Luckily, the answer is very simple – it will never be “the real thing.” Google plainly states on its support page that it will never ask for your password or other account information via email or link.
However, in order to protect yourself from similar scams involving other companies, there are some very simple things to be on the lookout for. Take a good look at the URL provided, and the email address the message is coming from. Most times, these will have been changed slightly (e.g. words spelled incorrectly, elongated titles.) And if you are provided with a link to follow, check to make sure that it begins with “https” as this signifies a secure, trusted server.
Remember, most companies adhere to the rule of never asking for personal information via email or phone. So if you find yourself with one of these sitting in your inbox, be sure to never follow any links or call any numbers provided in the email, until you’ve confirmed its authenticity. Instead, if you would like to verify, take a visit to the company’s official page, and send an email to the address listed there.