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Scammers hijack Google’s search engine with fake financial and charitable ads to exploit victims

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New research has found that scammers are hijacking Google’s search engine to target victims with fake financial and charitable ads.

Some of the rackets were revealed after searching for terms such as “top Isa,” “best bonds,” and “best fixed rate bonds.”

One victim lost £ 160,000 after clicking a link to an investment scheme from a scammer disguised as a respected company. Which one? After discovering that fake ads appear regularly in the search results of tech giants, Google is demanding that Google take stronger steps to combat fraudulent ads.

Consumer groups are investigating Google’s pay-per-click service, which allows you to pay for prominent places in search results, and fraudsters help debt with ads that mimic charities and road accident victims in car insurance promotions. I found that I am also using vulnerable people who seek.

Google has announced plans to review all advertisers on the platform and help them tackle fraud. In July, we worked with the FCA to introduce a validation program for advertisers promoting financial services and products. He said that a broader program to validate all advertisers currently applies only to advertisers registered in Canada, India, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States.

Under the new rules, advertisers promoting financial services and products must submit documents within 21 days to confirm their legal identity and business operations.

Which one? Concerns that this grace period could be abused by scammers and states that all advertisers need to be checked before the service can be published online.

Read more: Coronavirus-Scottish scammers become fake NHS workers with new scams

Jenny Ross, which one? Money editors said it should be credible that the ads they see on Google are legal.

“But investigations have revealed various ways fraudsters can hijack search engine systems to target and exploit victims,” ​​she said.

“We’ve introduced new steps to scrutinize these advertising financial products or services, but the grace period is a noticeable loophole and we’re asking Google to remove this delay from risky industry advertisers.

“Advertisements posted by unidentified advertisers also need to introduce clear and transparent labels.” The government also needs to expand the scope of future online harm laws and include fraudulent content. That’s why technology companies need to take more rigorous action to tackle fraudulent advertising. ”

Consumer groups also found suspicious ads when searching for debt charity StepChange.

Drivers affected by a car accident are also the target of “click-to-dial” ads that direct people looking for an insurance company’s phone number to contact a claim management company. Said.

Consumers believe that these companies are filing claims on behalf of insurance companies, but the details are passed on to third-party companies and people go to the services covered by real insurance companies. You can realize that you are obliged to pay thousands of pounds, consumer groups said.

Google said: “Protecting users from advertising fraud and fraud is a top priority. Certain advertisers currently promoting financial products or services to more effectively prevent predatory financial advertising in the UK. You must complete a business operations verification program to get more information about your advertiser’s identity, business model, and relationships with third parties so you can trust the ads your users are viewing.

“This policy update follows months of work with the FCA and input from the FCA to effectively address the malicious actors responsible for predatory financial advertising.”

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