Scams have been a long-lasting threat on the internet, and companies such as Facebook and Google have tried to protect their users through e-mail filters or potential scam warnings. Now, Google has announced a partnership with the Cybercrime Support Network to help people identify and stop scammers that might be out to get their money, with a website called Scam Spotter.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, $1.9 billion were lost to scams in 2019 alone, which works out to roughly $3,600 being lost every minute. Scammers use tactics that involve tax payments, some sort of contest, or impersonation to appear as someone who you would trust and send money to. To avoid this, the new website offers three general guiding principles – taking time to ask questions, double-checking the identity of the person contacting you, and avoid sending money if something feels off.
Scam Spotter shines light on different types of scams, including romance scams – which have cost over $200 million in 2019 – tax-related scams, contest or lottery winner scams, and an especially popular type of scam these days, COVID-19 scams. For each of these types of attack, the website offers more specific tips on how to avoid them, including links to resources that can be used to double-check information. There’s also a short quiz that tests your ability to identify a potential scam.
For many users, especially those that are more tech-savvy, scams are generally easy to identify, but evidently, there are still many people losing money to this sort of attack. Google encourages sharing Scam Spotter with people who might be prone to falling for schemes like these.