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Skins Scam With Fake Google Ads: Be Safe

The internet can be a safe place if you are generally attentive to the links you click and careful with the information you enter on various platforms. Scammers are there, waiting as hungry predators for naive victims. In the game items trading area, they want to access your inventory and steal your digital treasures.

It’s not easy to do (thank goodness), as the whole system is built to protect rightful owners of the skins and keep trades secure. But scammers have their vicious methods. They spread traps across the web, hoping that inexperienced gamers and traders will take the bait.

We at DMarket care about the safety of the skins trading industry. In addition to creating a platform for secure trades and exchanges of game items, we work on community awareness. Our series of articles explains scamming techniques to help everyone know where the dangers are and how to effectively avoid them.

Recently we published an article with anti-scam rules in trading game items. Please check it out.

This new post on DMarket Blog highlights one specific scam method. It’s connected to Google Ads. Would you like to know how it works and how to avoid it?

Fake Ads

If you search for something on Google, you may see one or a few top results being marked as Sponsored. Those links may be directly connected to the info/service you are looking for. Some links may just want to get your attention or even direct you to competitors.

Companies often use Google Ads to not miss out on potential clients. If someone looks for a famous brand, they quite often find an official website in both the ads and organic sections.

For game items, the system works in the same way. Trading platforms compete with each other, and pay for ads in the Google search results using the name of their marketplace, general keywords, or names of popular skins. It’s a legitimate business approach.

What Do Scammers Do?

Scammers pay for the same type of advertisements with the same keyword. They even use names of big reliable platforms (like DMarket) to appear in the search results. Their ads look and sound like the original, trustworthy ones. But that is a lie.

fake dmarket ads on Google

The scammers pay for fake ads to take people to their fake platforms. You click inattentively, and you are suddenly not on but on dmarcket or something of that sort. The whole design of that scam platform will be copied (stolen), so visually, the differences are too small to notice.

If a victim doesn’t check the URL properly and enters their credentials (thinking they are in the right place), this gives their information to a scammer. Skins may be lost forever.

What Do Scammers Want?

There is no secret about this. Scammers want your sensitive data. The more of it they get into their greedy hands, the better for them. But it’s also worse for you.

In the industry of trading game items, scammers want to get full access to your account and steal your skins. You click a fake ad and see a fake platform. The system asks you to enter your login and password. Who do you think will get them?

If the scammers know their evil stuff well (and they probably do with so many steps taken), they will even trick their victims into entering a two-factor verification code. Something bad can happen before the person realizes their mistake.

Again, the reliable trading platforms (those the scammers copy) do everything to minimize risks. The users and their inventories have layers of protection which may feel annoying, like entering verification codes for each important action. But they work well in many cases.

Still, even if those scammers can’t steal something right away, having a login, password and, potentially, a corrupted Steam Web API key is quite a chink in security measures that can lead to all sorts of scam methods being successful.

For getting even more data, the scammer may offer you a fake prize (“Just enter your details here”). Or what about a coaching session with s1mple? But sure, only after entering your credentials here or installing this small application from there.

Accessing scamming websites from fake Google ads is like opening Pandora’s box. Any action there may lead to losing skins and money. So, it is better not to become a victim in the first place.

How Does Google Allow Ads to Phishing/Scamming Websites?

The process of creating an advertisement in Google is automated. The system just can’t differentiate between a legitimate service and a scamming site. Google sure has a policy against fake ads. But it only starts working once someone reports an ad.

How to Report Scamming Ads in Google

Only the rightful owners of a platform/service can do this.

If scammers have tried to impersonate your website, press the three dots near the ad link and choose the option “Report ad”. You will need to provide detailed info and prove your position for the system to take action. See the step-by-step instruction below:

how to report scamming ad in google step 1 how to report scamming ad in google step 2 how to report scamming ad in google step 3 how to report scamming ad in google step 4 how to report scamming ad in google step 5
how to report scamming ad in google step 1 how to report scamming ad in google step 2 how to report scamming ad in google step 3 how to report scamming ad in google step 4 how to report scamming ad in google step 5

How to Be Safe: Security Tips

There are pretty simple rules that will help you to avoid scams with fake ads.

  • Always check the URL of a website before taking any sensitive action on it (like entering login and password). One small typo in there makes a big difference!

  • Check advertisers to avoid following scam links. Click the three dots near a sponsored link, and you will see some info on the advertiser.

fake advertiser name on Google ads
  • Be careful registering on new, unknown platforms. Gather some info about the service before entering your data there (like Steam credentials).

  • Add platforms you use regularly to your bookmarks to not rely on search results every time.

  • Never install anything directly from a platform, especially if you’ve found it through Google search. Using only official app stores may save you from scams.

Meanwhile, what about checking out our article on the most common Steam scams and how to avoid them?

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