Google recently sent out an urgent alarm warning to all users of its Gmail platform after a shocking number of scam messages were reported. The surge in scams began around last month’s Black Friday period and have continued ever since, with the company saying it has blocked billions of unwanted emails in just a few days.
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The warning applies to anyone with a Gmail account, with Google calling on users to think carefully when they see new emails in their inbox, especially those which claim to promote sales. The caution is all the more important as people complete their Christmas shopping, reports the Express.
Since the surge in fake messages began around Black Friday, Google says it has blocked 231 billion spam and phishing messages being sent out to users. In just one day, the company said it blocked 15 billion such scam emails.
Warnings are now in place to all Gmail users, with Google calling on people to act cautiously when reading their inbox. The firm says it is doing all it could to prevent people falling victim.
A Google spokesperson said: “These con artists are pesky and persistent during the best of times, but during the holiday season their behaviour is even more extreme. That’s why we have a dedicated team of Googlers who work around the clock to thwart these uninvited guests.”
Google has also issued a series of tips to Gmail users to enhance their safety in the coming weeks. It is a move the company says will prevent being scammed at Christmas, with tips including:
Giveaways and gift cards also fall foul of scammers, with fraudulent gift card purchases created in emails to lure people in from supposed known contacts. People are urged to only get gift cards online through website’s stores – not emails.
Scammers will also tackle charities over Christmas, with fraudsters hoping to cash in on people’s good-will. Here, people should be wary of anyone purportedly from a charity asking to be contacted on their personal email or to send money to them directly.
Specialistic scams are also deployed, honing in on people’s interests as a way to lure victims in. Scam emails here may seem more personal, but people should be wary of them as they will seem too good to be true.
Spoof antivirus emails often come up at Christmas as it is the time of subscription renewals, offering people greater security than ever, but this is very far from the truth. Here, people should note where the email has come from as it isn’t from the antivirus provider, it is most likely a scam.
Alongside these tips, Google has offered one last bit of advice. The company says apply common send and if anyone is unsure about a message, do not open it and do not click on suspicious links or hand over any personal details to a dodgy looking website.