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Google Chat scams explained

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  • 4 min read

Google Chat is a messaging app that allows users to send files and collaborate on projects. While Google Chat is an effective tool for businesses, it’s also popular with scammers. Fraudsters often begin scams on other platforms where it’s easier to attract victims — such as social media or dating sites. But once you engage with them, they’ll quickly ask to move the conversation to Google Chat to prevent their social profiles from being reported and banned.

In this article, we’ll explain how Google Chat scams work, the warning signs to look out for, and how to protect yourself if you’ve communicated with or given sensitive information and money to a scammer.


How do Google Chat scams work?

Here’s how a typical Google Chat scam works:

First, scammers engage with you online — via dating sites, social media, or other web pages. Fraudsters create fake online profiles to lure their victims with offers of romance, friendship, jobs, or investment opportunities. Some Google Chat scams originate on the platform. For example, scammers may try to get your attention or strike up a conversation by sending an ‘accidental’ Google Chat request.

Next, they move the conversation to Google Chat. Scammers try to transition the conversation to Google Chat by claiming it offers more privacy and security. They’re just trying to protect their other profiles from being reported or banned.

As they build your trust, they ask for money or sensitive information. Once they believe you’re hooked, scammers begin their ploy. This could be a romance scammer asking for money to visit, someone offering ‘guaranteed’ investment advice, or any other type of scam. If you fall for it, you could send a scammer personal information and sensitive photos that can be used for blackmail or money. Sometimes, hackers may send links that infect your device with malware. Hackers may also use Google Chat to send attachments that hide malware.

Also read: What is the Geek Squad scam? 


How to identify Google Chat scams?

Google Chat scams, like other scams, may be hard to spot at first, but if you look out for the red flags, you can identify them.

Here are some of the most common warning signs of Google Chat scams:

  • The person will contact you immediately and claim that he found your profile on another site.
  • Or, the person will claim to be a celebrity, a business representative, or someone needing help.
  • The person will ask you to move the conversation to Google Chat or another platform soon after contacting you.
  • The person professes strong feelings for you quickly or tries to pressure you into a relationship.
  • As soon as you comply with the requests, that person will ask you for money, gift cards, or bank account details for various reasons such as travel expenses, medical emergencies, legal fees, etc.
  • The person may ask you for personal information such as your address, social security number, passwords, etc. or they might also ask for your sensitive photos.
  • The person sends you links or attachments that may contain malware or phishing attempts.
  • The person refuses to video chat with you or provide proof of their identity. Or, even if they provide their identity, it would be a fake one.
  • The person makes excuses for not meeting you in person or constantly cancels plans.

Also read: How to identify Offerup scams?


How to avoid Google Chat scams?

If you suspect that someone is trying to scam you through Google Chat, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Do not send money or gift cards to anyone you haven’t met.
  • Do not share personal information or sensitive photos with anyone you don’t trust.
  • Do not click on links or open attachments from unknown sources.
  • Do some research on the person’s profile and photos. You can use reverse image search tools like SocialCatfish or Aura to check if they use stolen images or fake identities.
  • Report and block the person on Google Chat and any other platforms they contacted you on.

Google Chat scams are a serious threat that can cost you money, time, and emotional distress. Knowing how they work and what signs to look out for, you can avoid falling victim to these fraudsters and enjoy chatting online safely.

Also read: How to block someone on Google Chat?

Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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