Google Users Targeted by Sophisticated Phishing Scam

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If you received a strange invitation to edit a Google doc today, you're not alone—and hopefully you didn't open it.

Earlier today, Google Docs took to Twitter to announce that the company was investigating a phishing (scam) email that appeared as a Google Doc. The company encouraged users not to open it and to report it as phishing through Gmail.

Shortly after, Google issued this official statement via Twitter:

"We have taken action to protect users against an email impersonating Google Docs and have disabled offending accounts. We've removed the fake pages, pushed updates through Safe Browsing and our abuse team is working to prevent this kind of spoofing from happening again. We encourage users to report phishing emails in Gmail."

For those who are unaware, phishing scams work by deceiving people into clicking through links that make it possible for a group or individuals to solicit personal information (such as passwords) or install malicious software on your PC.

Phishing and other email scams are becoming increasingly more popular--and more sophisticated--which makes it hard to recognize when an email is legitimate.

As for avoiding other phishing scams like this one, a few tips include:

  1. Do not open an email if you have reason to believe it's fake. For example: if you receive an email from BMO with the subject line saying: ‘Unusual activity on your account’, but you don’t have any accounts with BMO, delete it. Don’t even dignify that scammer by opening that email. Send it directly to your server’s phishing folder.

  2. Do not ever ever ever ever ever ever give out your personal info. Not your full name, your address, your ID information - provide NOTHING. Ask yourself: why is the company asking for information they should already have in their records?

  3. Do not provide any banking information - not even your banking institution’s name. Scammers ultimately want to find illegal ways of making money off you and giving them any information regarding your bank account(s) gives them more reason to cling onto you and harass you until they have enough information to exploit you.

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