More information on scams from ‘Which’ magazine
Fake ads rife on search engines
Earlier this year, we reported that scammers were running riot on Google and Bing.
How? Scammers pose as genuine financial services firms, paying for their ads to appear at the top of search results, and invite people to enter their contact details so that they can call them about bogus investment opportunities.
When we looked at Bing it took seconds to find an ad for a website on the Financial Conduct Authority warning list. And, while Google appears to have stamped out most rogue financial advertisers, unregulated ones are still slipping through.
Microsoft continues to profit from fake ads promising high returns but only delivering misery for fraud victims, warns Which? Money.
Investment scams spiked by 84% in the first half of 2021 and total losses almost doubled from £55.2m in the first half of 2020 to £107.7m, largely driven by fraudulent advertising on search engines and social media, according to UK Finance.
Under pressure from consumer groups and the financial regulator, Google introduced stricter requirements for firms promoting financial services in the UK, with enforcement taking effect from 6 September 2021, but unregulated advertisers are still slipping through.
Bing appears to be making very little effort to stop rogue firms from taking out ads.
Phishing alert: fake McAfee and Norton Antivirus emails
Fake emails are currently circulating posing as McAfee and Norton Antivirus informing people that their subscriptions are at an end and need renewing. The emails ask you to click through on links in order to ‘renew the subscriptions’. Some even attempt to trick you into contacting the scammers using the details at the bottom of the email.
The McAfee renewal phishing email tells people their subscription has expired and that they ‘strongly recommend renewing your McAfee subscription to keep your privacy online and protect your communications.’
On the other hand, the fake Norton Antivirus email is a bit more canny. Devoid of colour and any official branding, it uses the format of a payment invoice, claiming that your subscription has been automatically renewed and updated.
Luckily, these emails aren’t as sophisticated as others we’ve seen, but they still pose a threat. They’re absent of official logos or branding and are poorly written, making them easier to spot.