Google launches a website to help users recognise COVID-19 online scams

Google has put up a new webpage to help users spot and avoid online scams related to the coronavirus outbreak.
The page provides tips on how to be aware of online risks and scams such as phishing emails posing as messages from charities. Google said that it has noted a significant rise in online scams.

As per a report by Livemint, Google's new webpage is currently available in English and Hindi languages and will soon be rolled out in other regional languages.

Image: Google

The search engine giant had last week said that its advanced machine-learning classifiers have seen 18 million daily malware and phishing attempts related to COVID-19. More than 240 million COVID-related spam messages were observed in a fortnight.

Google has listed a number of ways in which scammers can reach users and directed people on how to differentiate between a fake and real message.

It has asked users to check the trusted sources directly. “Scammers often pose as well-known, trusted and authoritative sources. Directly visit sources like the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to get the latest factual information about COVID-19,” the page mentions.

People are advised to make contributions directly to the website of non-profit organisations rather than clicking on the link sent to them on phone or email.

Fake links often imitate established websites by adding extra characters. “If it says something like 'click here', hover over the link or long press the text to check the URL for mistakes ─ being careful not to click it. Misspelled words or random letters and numbers in the URL or email address may also indicate a scam,” the Google page said.

Users have been urged to add two-factor authentication to their accounts. Google has built advanced security protections into its products to automatically identify and stop threats before they reach them.

Google machine learning models in Gmail already detect and block more than 99.9 percent of spam, phishing and malware, the company claims.

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