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Gmail scam fooling thousands – what to watch out for

Gmail_logoWe all put a lot of trust in Google. Nearly 72% of us use Google as our search engine, while around 35% of email accounts and 79% of smartphones come from the American internet giant. Therefore it’s no surprise that criminals are attempting to impersonate the company in an attempt to steal our data.

If you’ve received an email with the subject “Documents” in the last few weeks that directs you to a webpage similar to a Google Drive sign-in page, you’re probably on the receiving end of phishing attack designed to steal your Google login information.

Stop fraud: look at the website address

The page may look identical to the real Google Drive login page, but it will have an unofficial web address. Whenever you open a link from an email, it’s important to look at the address in your browser’s address bar (at the top of the screen) to see if you’re actually visiting the real website.

Fraud websites pretending to be an official website will often attempt to have similar-looking domain, but there will always be a key difference between the fake address and the real one. This is because there’s no way for an unofficial website to perfectly replicate the address of the real one – it’s just not possible.

However, fraudulent websites often create a similar-looking address to fool users. For example, someone impersonating google.com, might offer goo.glecom.com as the website address. At a quick glance, the two look the same, but only one is the real search engine.

The dangers of losing your Google login

With the Google Documents scam, the dangers are even greater than for any other website. This is because Google uses a unified login, which is also part of the OpenID system, which means one password provides access to potentially thousands of accounts (if you have them).

For example, your Gmail password won’t just provide access to your inbox, but also your Google Plus account, your Google Play account, your Google Music account, your Google Calendar, your YouTube account, your Flickr account, etc.

Apart from being really creepy, losing a Google account could also have serious real-world implications. Do you use an Android phone? If so, visit: https://maps.google.com/locationhistory/b/0. This map shows where your phone has recorded your recent locations.

This means it will have recored you home address. If a criminal compares this with your Google Calendar, they’ll know where you live and exactly when you’re out the house – perfect for breaking in.

This is just one example of the many dangers that losing your Google information can bring. Remember, when it comes to using your Google password, be very, very careful.

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