Humans are predictable; while seeking information, we are likely to turn to Google. Knowing this, businesses—including online media outlets like Lifehacker—often try to "game the algorithm" by creating material that will be relevant to popular queries. The issue is that con artists are aware of this as well and are eager to exploit their understanding of what you're likely to google against you.
I'm not referring to con artists who pay for false advertisements to appear in Google's "Sponsored Results," although that is also an issue. Instead, these dishonest people send up links to websites that will attempt to con you into falling for a scam by taking advantage of frequently searched terms. Although there is always a chance, there are five subjects you should Google with extra caution.
“Free credit report”
Ironically, one of the search phrases that puts you at the greatest danger of being targeted by fraudsters actually has the opposite impact of what is intended. We all know that it is legal for us to view our credit reports for free, and that keeping an eye on it is a great way to make sure your identity hasn't been stolen. However, if you're not careful, searching for "free credit report" online could lead you to a site where you could end up with just that.
Many personal details will be requested by fake credit report websites, and you could be tempted to comply if you think it's required in order for you to obtain your report. Instead, you'll be disclosing your sensitive information to someone who unquestionably does not care about your financial security.
“[Company] customer service number”
When you urgently need to speak with customer support, you might pick up the phone and dial the first official-sounding number you come across. Scammers are hoping you won't see the small red flags they've unwittingly left behind that would alert you that the number you're dialling isn't legitimate and that it is actually one of theirs.
Imagine that when trying to call your cell phone provider, you unintentionally dial a fraudster. They request a security code by SMS to "confirm your identity," and when you reply with it, you've accidentally given them a chance to change your account's password. Or they'll adopt your phone number and try to con others by doing something similar.
Make sure you're not mindlessly dialling the first number that appears on the Google search results page to avoid this. Examine the "about us" or "contact us" page for anything suspicious to ensure that the source URL is legitimate and leads to the official website.
“High paying remote job”
Nearly nothing in life that is simple is beneficial. This is particularly relevant when discussing how to earn money online in 2023. It's enough to mention that many job advertising are outright frauds.
The finest piece of advise is the most straightforward: If a job seems too good to be true, it generally is. Watch out for ambiguous job descriptions, outdated listings, and HR requests coming from free email addresses like @gmail.
“Free people finder”.
Although everyone does it, no one wants to confess it. Nowadays, people searching, or "creeping," is commonplace and simpler than ever because to how much of our private data is probably dispersed online. However, using a "people finder" to learn more about someone else might actually reveal too much about you since many of these websites are shady and eager to steal your money and personal information while posing as a people finder (just look at the complaints made against Peoplefinder.com to the Better Business Bureau).
Fortunately, there are risk-free, legal, and respectable ways to snoop on individuals. You can even choose not to have your information displayed on people search websites, albeit it will take some work.
“Best crypto wallet”
It makes sense to search for the safest wallet to prevent fraudsters, hackers, and criminals from getting their hands on your valuable cryptocurrency. Scammers want you to search for one, though, and because to their SEO expertise, they've positioned their traps highly in Google results.
Finding a reliable website that provides reliable advice and using the links on that website to access the wallets they propose can help you easily avoid this issue. Could I advise looking at our suggestions right here?