We’re used to a multitude of ways hackers try to steal our personal information to empty our bank accounts or impersonate us to open accounts in our name, and a major new Gmail scam has just emerged that targets millions of users.
Our friends at Tom’s Guide this week reported on a new attempt that is meant to look like a note of congratulations from Google’s search team.
New Gmail scam: What to watch out for
Tom’s Guide says the email has a subject line that says, “You’ve made the 18.25-billionth search!” It continues by suggesting you are a “lucky” user as you have supposedly won a “thank-you gift” sent after every 10 millionth search worldwide. This is accompanied by an image of a trophy with a button to supposedly claim the reward.
Tom’s Guide notes: “This message might take some Gmail users by surprise as it appears to come from Google’s employees. Just like other scams, there’s no prize and it instead provides a simple way for hackers to steal your data.”
“Unfortunately, companies often use email for giveaways, which is why some may fall victim to this.”
So please do not click on any email that looks like this.
Kiplinger’s tips to guard yourself against scams
Use these tips to stay safe online and on your phone:
- Never open any email that looks suspicious, and if you do, never click on any link in it.
- Poor grammar and spelling are often a sign it’s a scam.
- Scammers usually don’t know your name as they’re sending lots of emails or texts at once, so they often address it “dear customer,” “dear madam” or quote your email address rather than use your name. This is often a tell-tale sign.
- Never trust caller ID on your phone, especially when the caller asks for private information.
- Never give out personal info on an email, text or call. Banks never ask you for that info over the phone or by message. Call them back using a number you find independently, if unsure.
- If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Never send money to someone you don’t know, whatever story they give. Many scammers try this on dating platforms or social media.
- Beware scam job listings that guarantee employment or ask for cash for training.
- Designate a trusted contact on your financial accounts who can be contacted if your bank suspects anything suspicious.
- Put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry to avoid cold calls. That way, as well as less nuisance, you will be more likely to spot a scammer. Go to www.donotcall.gov or call (888) 382-1222.
- Register fraud, or attempted fraud, at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint.
Guy has extensive experience in personal finance journalism having joined Future (Kiplinger's parent company) after 13 years at MoneySavingExpert.com, most recently as deputy editor, and working closely alongside Martin Lewis. He has also worked at the Daily Mail as a personal finance reporter and his work has appeared in The Sun, Guardian, Observer, Mirror and other national newspapers. As a money and consumer expert, Guy is a regular guest on TV and radio – appearing on BBC News, BBC Radio 4, Sky News, ITV News and more.
Year-End Tax Planning for a Financially Healthier Retirement
Getting your tax ducks in a row for the end of the year can decrease your tax liability and make the most of your income, now and in retirement.
By Ryan Marston, Investment Adviser Representative Published
Where to Start Financially After a Life-Changing Diagnosis
Dealing with an illness, yours or your child’s or that of another loved one, is hard enough without adding financial duress. Here are some considerations and suggestions for covering expenses.
By Stephen B. Dunbar III, JD, CLU Published