How to spot Google Photos scam and protect your information

Have you received an email saying that someone has shared a Google photo album with you? If you don’t know the sender, chances are you’ve received a phishing email.

Phishing scams are prevalent these days, so much so that criminals have even found a way to use Google Photos to trick you into giving them your personal information to steal your identity and cause you financial ruin. 

Keep in mind that phishing is getting more sophisticated every day. That’s why we looked into the latest about securing your online credentials and asked experts about their best tips on doing this. 

We’ll also teach you how to identify scam emails and what you can do if you receive them. 

Don’t miss out on crucial steps that’ll help you keep your Google account and your login credentials secured. Keep reading until the end to find out our unique tip on how to stop getting phishing emails. 

How do Google Photos scams work?

Google Photos scams are phishing schemes that target users of the Google Photos app. There are different methods that scammers and identity thieves use, but most of them involve fake emails that redirect you to a page where you’ll have to log in to your account.

Photo album sharing

This particular scam works by someone sending you an email that looks like it’s from Google Photos. The message will say that someone’s trying to share a photo album with you and that you’ll have to click on a link to access it.

As soon as you click on it, you’ll be redirected to a website that looks very similar to the real Google Photos website. The site will now ask you to enter your login details.

Once the scammers have your login information, they can access your account and steal any personal or financial information they find.

Google employee impersonation

This Google Photos scam is a type of phishing scam that occurs when someone poses as a Google employee and contacts you to ask for access to your Google Photos account.

The scammer may say they need access to your account to verify it or to offer a new feature. 

They may also say there’s been suspicious activity on your account or that your photos have been backed up incorrectly.

Once the scammer has gained access to the account, they can download your photos and even create a new album with your pictures. 

The scammer may then contact you again, asking for money in exchange for not sharing the photos publicly.

This type of scam is difficult to detect because the scammer often uses a fake email address or phone number that appears to be from Google.

Photo viewing

This scam works similarly to the first one on this list. The scammers will send you a fake email that appears to be from Google, asking you to click on a link to view your photos. 

The link actually leads to a website that’s designed to steal your Google account login credentials. 

Once the scammers have your login information, they can use it to access your Google account and any other accounts that you’ve linked to it, such as Gmail, YouTube, and Drive.

How do you know if an email is a scam?

There are a few things you can do to see if an email is a scam.

  • Check the sender’s address. See if it matches the real Google Photos address. If the sender’s address is different, or if there’s no sender’s address at all, that’s a red flag that the email might be a scam.
  • Look for any typos or grammatical errors in the email. Google employees will usually not make mistakes like this in their emails.
  • Check for links that redirect you to another page. Another red flag is if the message asks you to click on a link to log in or view photos. This isn’t something that Google would do. Trust your gut. If something about the email feels off, it’s probably a scam. Remember that if you’re not sure, it’s okay to ask.  You can always contact Google directly to ask if an email is legitimate before you proceed. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry.

What should you do if you receive a suspicious Google Photos email?

If you receive an email that looks like it’s from Google Photos, but you’re not sure if it’s real, there are a few things that you can do.

  • Do not click on any links in the email. As we mentioned before, scammers often use fake links to take you to their scam websites.
  • Do not enter your login credentials. If the website looks suspicious or if you’re not sure if it’s real, don’t enter your login information.
  • Forward the email to Google. You can forward suspicious emails and other types of Google scams directly on Google’s website. They’ll then investigate and take action if necessary.
  • Delete the email. Once you’ve forwarded the email to Google, go ahead and delete it from your inbox.

You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/complaint.

How to protect yourself from Google Photos scams

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from Google Photos scams.

  • Never click on links in emails. This is one of the easiest ways for scammers to get access to your account. If you’re not sure if an email is real, don’t click on any links. Instead, go directly to the website by typing in the address yourself.
  • Never enter your login credentials on a suspicious website. If you’re ever asked to enter your login information on a website that you’re not familiar with, don’t do it. Only enter your login information on websites that you know and trust.
  • Use a strong password. A strong password is at least 8 characters long and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using easily guessed words like your name or birthday. Alternatively, you can use a password manager to help generate and keep track of your passwords.
  • Enable 2-Step Verification. 2-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security to your account by requiring you to enter a code whenever you log in from a new device. That way, even if someone has your password, they won’t be able to access your account unless they also have your phone.
  • Keep your software up to date. Keeping your software up to date is important for two reasons. First, it helps keep your computer safe from viruses and malware. Second, it ensures that you have the latest security features, which can help protect you from newer threats.
  • Be cautious of public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi is convenient, but it’s also one of the easiest ways for hackers to get access to your account. If you’re using public Wi-Fi, be sure to only visit websites that you know and trust. And avoid entering any sensitive information like your login credentials or credit card number. By following these steps, you can help protect yourself from Google Photos scams and other online threats.

How do you stop scam emails from coming through?

If you’re getting a lot of spam or scam emails, there are a few things you can do to help stop them.

  • Mark emails as spam. If you receive an email that you know is a scam, be sure to mark it as spam. This will help train Gmail’s filters to automatically send similar emails to your spam folder in the future.
  • Unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Most commercial emails have an unsubscribe link at the bottom. If you’re getting emails that you don’t want, you can usually unsubscribe by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email.
  • Use Gmail’s filtering options. This is one of our best tips to stop phishing emails from coming in altogether. Gmail actually has several features that can help you filter and block unwanted emails.
    • The first is the spam filter. This automatically sorts emails from unknown senders into a separate folder. 
    • You can also set up custom filters to automatically archive or delete emails based on certain criteria. Some of these include the sender’s address or the presence of certain keywords. 
    • Finally, Gmail lets you block specific email addresses, ensuring that you’ll never receive another message from them. 

These tools will allow you to take control of your inbox and reduce the amount of time you spend dealing with unwanted emails.

All these steps combined can help you reduce the amount of spam and scams emails that you receive in the future.

Conclusion

It’s crucial to be aware of the different types of Google Photos scams that are out there. More importantly, you also have to know how to protect yourself from them. 

By following the tips we’ve provided, you can help keep your information safe and secure. And if you ever encounter a scam email, be sure to do your part in protecting yourself and others by reporting it directly to Google or the FTC before you delete the email.

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