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Tags: google | searches | internet | cybercriminals
OPINION

Treat Googling With Great Care

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(Dreamstime)

Jodi Pierce By Friday, 26 April 2024 05:02 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

In the digital age, using search engines like Google is second nature for many; but some searches are riskier than others, potentially leading users straight into the clutches of scammers. Certain terms are more frequently associated with fraudulent websites and scams. 

Free

Searching for free versions of software or media, like "free games," "free movies," or "torrents," can often direct users to unsafe sites where malware can be easily downloaded onto their devices.

Additionally, "free credit report" could be one of the most dangerous free terms to search. When attempting to obtain your free credit report, scammers may exploit this opportunity to gather sensitive information, such as your date of birth and Social Security number, putting you at risk for identity theft.

Although regularly checking your credit report is a good practice for spotting fraud and there are legitimate ways to receive free reports, you should be cautious about using search terms like "free credit report" online. This can help you avoid falling victim to scams.

Customer Service Numbers

Another high-risk search term includes any that's related to customer service numbers. Scammers take advantage by buying advertisements that secure the top spots in search results. They set up fake customer service numbers to trick people into calling them under the guise of resolving issues with services from reputable companies. When users input these numbers, they might end up giving away personal information to fraudsters. 

Experts recommend bypassing ads and going directly to the official website of the company to safely get their contact information and avoid these scams.

Tech Support

Similar to customer service phone numbers, cybercriminals frequently establish bogus tech support services. When consumers reach out for assistance, they may be deceived into granting remote access to their computers, installing malware, or handing over credit card details for fake services. Always seek tech support directly from the manufacturer of your device or software provider.

Coupons or Discounts

Additionally, seeking out coupons or discounts can also be risky. Searching for terms like "cheap" or specific phrases promising significant price cuts can lead users to dubious websites that might phish for personal details or trick users into handing over credit card information.

Easy Loan

Scammers often target individuals in financial distress by advertising quick, easy loans. They typically demand upfront fees and personal information, but the promised loans fail to materialize. Rather than searching for financial help on Google, it's safer to approach recognized banks and lenders for financial services.

Quick Money-Making Schemes

Many of the results and advertisements that appear under such searches are often scams. These schemes promise significant returns for little effort or investment but usually require an upfront fee, personal information, or bank details. Once scammers have what they want, they can disappear, leaving you out of pocket and at risk of identity theft.

Conclusion

While search engines like Google are invaluable tools in our daily lives, they are not without their dangers. Certain search terms, particularly those offering something for "free" or promising quick solutions to problems, can be especially hazardous. These terms often lead to fraudulent websites, scam operations, and potentially significant personal and financial harm. Whether it's free software, quick loans, customer service numbers, or tech support, the risk of encountering scams is considerably higher.

It's vital to approach online searches with caution and skepticism. Directly visiting official websites and relying on verified sources for services, information, and purchases can safeguard against these risks. By educating ourselves and staying vigilant, we can better protect our personal information and finances in this digital age.

Jodi Pierce is an MBA graduate from North Greenville University. She serves as a Director of Media Buying at PC Matic, a cybersecurity solutions provider. Ms. Pierce drives growth with innovative marketing strategies. Passionate about education and philanthropy, Jodi inspires through leadership and commitment to excellence, bolstering the cause of safeguarding digital landscapes. Read more of her reports - here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


JodiPierce
In the digital age, using search engines like Google is second nature for many; but some searches are riskier than others, potentially leading users straight into the clutches of scammers.
google, searches, internet, cybercriminals
650
2024-02-26
Friday, 26 April 2024 05:02 PM
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