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Phishing: The Dark Side of Google Ads

Home deliveries and online orders rose tremendously during the pandemic. So many people were shopping online...

And scammers were already way ahead of them.


Google, Bing and Facebook Ads sporting fake, fraudulent and phishing websites. Scam websites on Google Ads graced the top of almost every page of search results. So much so that Google implemented a new rule to stop phishing ads. However, it is being organized more than a year too late and many victims have already suffered major financial losses by trusting that what they saw in Google results was correct.

In Google we trust

Join any forum, social media platform or virtually any online group and ask a question. 9 out of 100 times someone will respond, "Google it."  Why is that? Because people have an unwarranted and explicit trust in Google search results.

Unfortunately, that trust is misplaced. And Google never asked people to believe everything they saw in search results.

Google is a search engine, not a dictionary of truth. They list what is relevant to the words you searched. The website results may or may not be legitimate.

ANY website link that comes up in Google could be inaccurate or even dangerous. For example, in the early 2000's, I ran across a website that sold a topical spray that could cure (in their words), "a slightly crushed foot." After I stopped laughing, I filed it away as a lesson. To this day, it is one of my favorite lines to repeat when it comes to reminding people that what they find on the internet could be complete garbage.

Google creates a Strike system

Presumably to combat the flux of scammers using Google Ads, Google will introduce a new strike-based system to enforce against advertisers who repeatedly violate Google Ads policies.


The new strike-based system begins on Sep 21, 2021, with a gradual ramp up over a period of 3 months, for the following policies: Enabling dishonest behavior, Unapproved substances, Guns, gun parts and related products, Explosives, Other Weapons, and Tobacco.


The coverage of the strike-based system will be expanded to add additional policies in phases over time and advertisers will be notified each time new policies are brought within scope of the strike-based system.


Scammers heavily use Google Ads to place their sites at the top of search results.

Continued Ad issues as lawsuits for Google advertising surface in 2021


Colluding with Facebook over Advertising?

Google was hit by a lawsuit from two Massachusetts companies accusing the search giant of cutting an illegal deal with Facebook that gave the social network unfair advantages in online advertising auctions. The lawsuit references allegations first made in an antitrust complaint against Google filed last year by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and a group of nine other state AGs.

Between the lawsuits and the new strike system, it seems Google has their hands full for the remainder of 2021. In theory, these changes will reduce the number of phishing websites and unfair results gracing the top page of searches. But since Google's customer service is fundamentally non-existent... this may be more of a hopeful dream than a reality.


In other words, continue to be careful of what, when, where you click.


ALWAYS visit from bookmarks.


Need help figuring out if you've been phished, hacked, compromised or another cyber security question? Just drop us a note.

TNW Creations is a Web Development & Media Publishing Agency in Austin, Texas. Web Development, cyber security, web design, clean energy web host, Advanced SEO, Digital Marketing and more since 1995.

I've been programming, designing, writing and publishing professionally online since 1995. I've worn many hats throughout my life, but the common core of my career has always been media. Besides the portfolio you see on TNW Creations, my internet presence has been substantial for over 2 decades. In 1995, while still in college, I founded TNW Creations and became part of the grassroots development for teaching the Lakhota language online. By 2004, my bilingual work was listed on many sites, including National Geographic , Encarta and Touchstone Pictures Hidalgo. When I'm not developing and writing, you'll find me managing MagicStoryLand.Com, creating kid-friendly game & video content, investigating and initating hostile website takedowns, posting salty articles about cyber threats, moderating UnifyLife.Org and enjoying my  community, church & family.