Computer techs weigh in on Google Docs scam targeting millions - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Computer techs weigh in on Google Docs scam targeting millions

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Scammers have found another way to hack into your personal information: by sending you a Google document.

"I think everyone's always trying to find a new way to exploit the system," Google user Mark Reyes says upon learning about the newest fraud email to spread across Gmail accounts.

Gmail's roughly 1 billion users are being targeted, including the KSBY newsroom, which received one of the phishing emails featuring a file from Google Docs.

Google includes a warning to users when they receive the email, but some are clicking the link anyway, which is how the link keeps spreading.

The spam will look like a Google Doc, maybe even sent from a friend. Instead, it's part of a massive phishing attack. 

"It looks like a trusted source, but it's really not," says Jordan Smith, a technician at Experimac in San Luis Obispo.

Smith says the owner of Experimac also received the scam.

"It was asking for her login information and her access to her contacts. Usually things like that, especially with Google, they usually don't want to tap into your information," Smith says.

Clicking the document gives the hacker total access to your email. The scammer will likely send the scam to your contacts.

"That just draws more people in, like, "Hey, this is someone I trust sending me this email, so now I'm going to give them my information,' and it just creates a rabbit hole," Smith says.

"If you use Google, you have your email, your contacts, and your phone; there's no good way to lock that down," says Mark Reyes.

Google users like Reyes and Carrie Donovan say they won't be opening Google documents anytime soon. 

"It's very frightening. I don't want to partake in that," Donovan says.

Technicians advise looking for a padlock in the URL before entering any personal information. It's a sign that your connection is secure.

If it's too late and you've already fallen victim to a fraud email, change your password immediately.

"if you change your password right away, they can't log in anymore and they can't send the emails they're trying to send," Smith says.

Another way to stop some phishing ads is to download an ad blocker or clear your cookies and browsing history.

Speaking of scams, a new app can tip you off to spam phone calls. DU Caller claims to have intercepted 43 million fraudulent phone calls globally. Its database of numbers associated with scammers has reached 2 billion.

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