Hey Tech Support Scams, Google Is On To You

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The tech giant is taking action against this common scheme.

Staying safe online has never been easy, and it's even more difficult when you're parsing through ads for a tech support service to trust. Fraudsters often advertise using Google ads, which makes parsing the genuine businesses from the bogus schemes even more difficult. Google has decided to take action, CNET reports

Google announced in a blog post on Aug. 31 that it will restrict ads globally for third-party tech support services.

"For many years, we’ve consulted and worked with law enforcement and government agencies to address abuse in this area," said David Graff, Google's director of global product policy.

The company says it plans to implement a verification program for tech support providers that are legitimate and not trying to scam anyone—but Google admits it's not a fool-proof method.

"These efforts alone won’t stop all bad actors trying to game our advertising systems, but it will make it a lot harder," said Graff.

Google isn't alone in its efforts. Microsoft warned customers in April that it had received 153,000 reports of tech support scams the previous year and recommended that they only download software from official vendor sites as opposed to third parties.

Government agencies have also fought the battle against tech support scams. The FBI announced in March that it had received more than 10,000 complaints from these scams and that the victims had lost an amount close to $15 million.

The Federal Trade Commission has released an extensive guide for avoiding and dealing with this type of scam. In general, you should be on guard and never give password or account information over email.