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The Dangers of Clicking on a Google Ad in Search Results

We all know that internet scams are rife across the internet and people end up losing lots of money as a result. Last week I had a customer who fell for a scam after lots of popups appeared on his computer warning him that he had viruses and trojans and that he needed to call Microsoft on the number displayed to resolve the issue.

As you can see from the screenshot below it all looks quite worrying and it also looks like he can't do anything on his computer because it has greyed out the background. All he really need to do was to close the browser tab and his problems would have been solved!

 

If you are like me you might be wondering what did he click in the first place to end up on this dodgy website. Well, he click on an advert for Sainsburys supermarket. He typed into Google Sainsburys Online and clicked the first result which was is an advert.

 

When I tried the same on my computer the exact same issue occurred. I reported the issue to Google via their Report an Ad form and within 30 minutes the scam was removed and clicking on the advert actually takes you to Sainsburys.

It's good that Google responded quickly but the fact that this can happen in the first place is worrying. Surely it shouldn't be that hard for Google to use their immense skills and AI to stop these sorts of scams from happening!

 

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