My spam filter eats a lot of emails during the course of the average
day, and I usually just scan through the trash-can to make sure it's
not eaten anything important before I kill things permanently.
In any case. This morning something I personally have never seen
before actually got past the filter, planted itself in my Inbox and
sat there grinning at me; an email from the "Google AdWords Support
Team" [nudge nudge wink wink] telling me to update my billing
information [I'll paste it in at the end].
We all get this sort of crap from "banks" on a daily basis and as we
all know, banks are evil.
But this is Google - big, friendly, fluffy 'do-no-evil' Google - who's
being impersonated here, and I personally can see a high proportion of
less knowledegable online business owners taking the bait on this one,
especially given the type of less knowledegable online business owners
we see in here day after day.
Personally, I can think of at least three of our own clients who'd
click the "Google" link and fill in the "Google" form without thinking
twice, despite the fact that they would never in their wildest dreams
go anywhere near a similar email from a "bank", so I've already sent
them warning emails and I'll probably send another one to the entire
customer-base... just in case...
Anyway... just thought I'd give this one an airing in here.
Here's the email in question:
Dear Google AdWords Customer!
In order to update your billing information, please sign in
to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com, and update your
billing information. Your account will be reactivated as soon as you
entered your payment details. Your ads will show immediately if you
decide to pay for clicks via credit or debit card. If you decide to
by direct debit, we may need to receive your signed debit
before your ads start running, depending on your location. If you
choose bank transfer, your ads will show as soon as we receive your
first payment. (Payment options vary by location.)
Thank you for choosing AdWords. We look forward to providing you with
the most effective advertising available.
The Google AdWords Team
This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does
not accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message. If you
have any questions after following the steps above, please visit the
Google AdWords Help Center at
find answers to frequently asked questions and a 'contact us' link
the bottom of the page.
I particularly like the way they've used the AdWords support link to
give themselves that little bit of extra credibility.