Being the largest search engine and browser in the world, it is no surprise brands also want to use the search engine’s advertising features. Unfortunately, bad actors using Google ads pose a threat to brands and consumers alike within the platform as we talk about in the Common Questions About Ad Fraud article.
Now, in this guide, we will give you everything brands need to know about fake Google ads, how to stop them, and safeguard your business.
What are fake Google ads?
We could say, it is a most specific Ad Fraud. Since a fake ad on Google are ads bought and used by fraudsters posing as businesses to defraud consumers online. Also, we know where they operate. Though fake Google ads are unlawful and prohibited by the platform, Google has a challenging time identifying and stopping them unless they are reported.
Let me explain to you how the process is. If you are fooled and clicks on a fake ad on Google, you are then usually redirected to a phishing website. Where scammers can use these fake websites for various kinds of internet scams and fraudulent activities. Some sell counterfeit products, while others simply exist to steal confidential information and further defraud consumers.
Types of fake Google ads
Although it is difficult to defined each kind of fake or fraud ad, we have found the most common types of fake Google ads typically fit into the following categories:
- Brand impersonation
When consumers search for a brand online, could appear a fake Google ad, that bring you to be easily involve in a swindle web. This is the way that scammers typically use to pass themselves off as existing brands in their fake Google ads. They steal product photos and other intellectual property owned by the brand to appear as them in the advertisement.
Scammers also use Fake Google ads to direct consumers to websites where they sell counterfeit products. In this case does not necessarily mean the scammer is impersonating a brand’s entire identity, they are still infringing on the brand and defrauding consumers. Counterfeits are typically made with cheaper materials and are of lower quality, which can reflect poorly on the real brand whose product was stolen.
- Cryptocurrency phishing swindles
As cryptocurrency continues to rise in popularity, so do the swindle attempts within the industry. Scammers use domain spoofing with similar URLs and pose as these brands to fool consumers into believing they are the real company. If you stop to think, is the same modus operandi that is used by banks website frauds.
This is an escalating problem in crypto, with data from Check Point Research finding consumers who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to these Google ads scams.
- Spoof websites
Once consumers are redirected to a spoof website through a fake Google ad, it is likely they will not realize the site is fake. The Spoof website is one step further than the brand impersonation by impersonating a brand’s entire website.
How to stop and report fake Google ads?
Do not let fake Google ads, steal their revenue or tarnish their reputation. Here we show you the steps brands can take to stop and report fake Google ads:
- Use a revenue recovery service
The key to protecting a brand from fake Google ads is having a robust monitoring system that can identify fake ads and infringements. Brands can work with a revenue recovery service like Red Points that uses software to identify and take down fake ads around the clock.
- Educate consumers
Brands should let their customers know how to identify their brand, and notify them if any fake ads of their brand are found. How? Working together with their customers to keep them informed on the risks of fake Google ads, and how to avoid them.
- Report fake ads on Google
If brand owners find a fake ad on Google impersonating the brand or selling counterfeits of their products, they should report it to Google immediately.
To report a fake ad on Google, use this ad reporting form. Choose the best responses in the form, and include any additional information that is required. If the fake Google ad is not removed, brand owners can send another fake ad report, or follow up with the Google support team.