Google Account Recovery Scam via SMS Messages or Internet Browser

 

GOLDEN RULES:

  1. Slow it down - Scams are often designed to create a sense of urgency. Take time to ask questions and think it through.
  2. Spot check - Do your research to double check the details you are getting. Does what they’re telling you make sense?
  3. Stop! Don’t send - No reputable person or agency will ever demand payment or your personal information on the spot.

 

If you receive a text message claiming your Google Account has been compromised, use a computer to go to Google Account security settings and review your recent activity to make sure no one unauthorized has accessed your account. Do not respond to unsolicited text messages with personal information. Also, beware of messages that claim Google needs to call you to verify your identity. Google will not send you a text message that asks you to respond by text or phone call to verify your identity if your account has been compromised. Here's an example of what a scam message might say:

Scam Message Example:  Google Message #42132: Your Gmail has been compromised by hackers. Google needs to call you to verify your identity. Text back with 'READY' when you are ready to receive this call.

 

If you receive a message similar to the one above, do not respond. Instead, forward the message to your cell phone carrier’s SMS spam reporting number. For most carriers, this number is 7726.

Also, Google Voice allows you to mark messages as spam so that future messages from that number will automatically be considered spam and you won't receive any notifications about it.

Phishers have also been using fake alerts, indicating “Suspicious activity is detected. Your account is locked.”

Scam Message Example: Suspicious activity is detected. Your account is locked. Your account was sending spam, and for this reason it is temporarily blocked. To unlock your account, you must confirm that you are a real person and not a robot, and to prove you are the owner of the account. To do this, go through a simple verification procedure and fill out the form and submit it below. Immediately after that, your account will be unlocked. Please note that the data required for verification is not stored on live servers and used only once to unlock your account. Thank you for your understanding.

 

This persistent message may appear when visiting various websites. The email states that in order to unlock or unblock your account, you must prove ownership of the account. Sensitive information such as card details are then asked. Please do not provide any details, as this notice is not legitimate. If you are seeing this message, we recommend running a reputable antivirus program to detect and remove any malicious software on your device. 

 

Resources:

  • Learn some steps to help you determine whether a message is phishing.
  • If you have Gmail, consider turning on two-step verification to add an extra layer of security to your Google Account.
    • If malicious software has been detected on your device, we also recommend changing your passwords to your accounts in the event they may be compromised.

Spam: The abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages.

Phishing: Phishing is a type of online fraud where someone tries to trick the victim into revealing sensitive details such as a username, password or credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

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