Google is warning users to beware of scams that offer ways to make fast money using the popular Web search engine.
Offers such as "Use Google to Make 1000s of Dollars!" or "Easy Cash with Google: You Could be Making up to $978 a Day Working from Home!" sound too good to be true, and unfortunately, they usually are, Google said in a blog posting.
“Despite hundreds of consumer complaints and our own efforts to keep these sites from tricking people, some scams continue,” the posting said.
Google has filed lawsuits against the perpetrators of some of these scams, claiming copyright infringement by using its brand without permission.
“Misleading ads try to take advantage of consumers in the midst of a difficult economy, and as the economic situation has worsened, the problem has only grown,” the Google blog said. “As far as we can tell, thousands of people have been tricked into sending payment information and being charged hidden fees by questionable operations.”
Google calls these offers “scammy” and “fraudulent”, and says it is also acting to remove their links from its search index, and to permanently disable the AdWords accounts of those responsible. AdWords lets subscribers pay for links to their sites from search results for specific topics or keywords.
“That said, we can't guarantee that schemes like these won't pop up, like the proverbial ‘Whack-A-Mole’, someplace else online — either on a different network or under a different name,” Google said.
It adds that users can help by treating any ‘branded’ offers with caution and not clicking on such links – especially those offering easy money.
Names to be wary of include Google Adwork, Google ATM, Google Biz Kit, Google Cash, Earn Google Cash Kit, Google Fortune, Google Marketing Kit, Google Profits, The Home Business Kit for Google, Google StartUp Kit, and Google Works.