Google launches Scam Spotter program to help internet users identify and prevent fraud
Scam statistics and COVID-19
In a blog post, Google's Vice President shared that there have indeed been record-high scam reports in recent months, and according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), $1.9 billion were lost to scams just in 2019.
Convincing scams about overdue payments or bogus contest winnings are reportedly causing trusting internet users to lose over $3,600 every minute. According to the FTC, more than $40 million were lost in frauds related to a myriad of COVID-19 complaints.
Identifying an online scam
In an effort to educate internet users on identifying and preventing scams, Google has just launched Scam Spotter, a new program that comes with its own website, at ScamSpotter.org.
Its teachings revolve around three simple rules to consider when dealing a suspicious email, phone call or message:
- Slow it down: Are they telling you it’s urgent? Take your time and ask questions to avoid being rushed into a bad situation.
- Spot check: Are they claiming to be from a specific institution? Do your own research to double check the details you’re getting.
- Stop! Don’t send: Are they asking you to go to the store and get gift cards? If you think a payment feels fishy, it probably is.
Google recommends sharing the Scam Spotter website and its teachings with seniors, who have been shown in research to lose the most due to scams, while people ages 25-40 are most likely to be scammed, but for less money.