Science & Tech

Googling these six phrases could put you at risk says cybersecurity expert

Googling these six phrases could put you at risk says cybersecurity expert
Google, Microsoft and Others Pledge Billions To Help Improve US Cybersecurity
Money Talks News / VideoElephant

Google is the destination for millions when seeking information. This is something scammers are well aware of, and use that to exploit popular search terms to deceive people into parting with their money and personal details.

Ben Van Pelt, founder of cybersecurity company TorGuard, wanted to lift the lid on the dangerous Google searches and urged online users to be incredibly vigilant.

Here are six of the Google phrases Van Pelt encourages people to take extra caution with:

Customer service numbers

Performing a quick online search is a common method to find a company's customer service contact number. However, scammers exploit this by purchasing ads to appear at the top of search results. They then present misleading links and phone numbers that connect to them, rather than to the actual company.

Van Pelt explained: "They receive these calls, sometimes hundreds daily, and they convincingly mimic a technician."

To avoid such scams, expert advises skipping the ads and directly visiting the official website of the company to obtain their contact information.

Easy Loans

Scammers may advertise easy, immediate loans to exploit people in financial distress. They often require upfront fees and personal information, and the promised loan never materializes.

"Instead of turning to Google for financial aid, seek financial services from recognised banks and lenders," Van Pelt advised.

Quick Money-Making Schemes

These often involve "investment opportunities" that promise high returns with little risk. In reality, they are often pyramid schemes.

"Avoid getting caught in pyramid schemes. For investment opportunities, always consult a reputable investment broker or financial advisor," he said.

High-Paying Remote Jobs

When it comes to looking for a job, the expert encourages people to stay away from searching for "high-paying remote jobs."

Scammers often advertise high-paying remote jobs to lure individuals looking for employment. These "jobs" can be fronts for illegal activities like money laundering, or they might simply be attempts to gather your personal or financial information.

"When searching for employment, stick to well-known job websites and the official career pages of reputable companies to minimize the risk of encountering scammers," Van Pelt said.

Free Credit Report

Under the pretence of providing your free credit report, scammers will try to get everything from your date of birth to your social security number, which leaves you at risk of identity theft.

While monitoring your credit report is an effective way to detect fraud, and you can obtain free copies, you should avoid searching for "free credit report" online to steer clear of potential scams.

Tech Support Scam

Cybercriminals often set up fake tech support services. When consumers contact them for help, they may trick them into allowing them remote access to their computers, installing malware, or providing credit card information for bogus services.

Van Pelt says to always use official tech support from your device's manufacturer or software provider.

Navigating the digital world requires knowledge and caution. Consumers must remain vigilant of the information they encounter online, particularly when revealing personal or sensitive data.

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