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Google inactive account warning
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Security & privacy

This email says your Google account will be marked inactive – Is it real?

Depending on what you use it for, being locked out of an account can range from a minor inconvenience to a nightmare. The first thing you need to do is relax and avoid making things worse.

There’s no bottom to a scammer’s bag of tricks. If you find yourself locked out of your social media account, don’t reach out to strangers promising to help you get back in. While there are legitimate services, you are taking a chance on giving your information to thieves. Tap or click here for tips on how to handle it.

Some Google users are now getting emails saying their accounts, which they regularly use, will be marked as inactive. This has all the makings of a phishing scam, but is it a legitimate message? Keep reading to find out what to do if you get this email.

Here’s the backstory

When a scammer impersonates a brand or company to get personal information or money from victims, it’s called phishing. These attempts typically come through email, text or social media. They’re not easy to detect, as Mailchimp customers recently discovered when the service was hacked. Tap or click here for our report.

An email from Google saying your active account would be marked as inactive should certainly raise red flags. Some people recently took to Google’s support forum to report the message. One person posted a screenshot showing the subject line: “Your Google account will soon be inactive.”

Another user responded that the issue is being “widely reported” and linked to another thread. Google’s spam filters should be catching these phishy emails, so what gives?

ScreenRant contacted Google One support and wrote, “this seems to be a bug related to Google’s Inactive Account Manager feature.” It’s not a scam. According to ScreenRant, Google “gave assurances that an inactive account warning won’t affect access to Google apps or result in any loss of data.”

RELATED: Locked out of your Google account? Here’s how to get back in

What is the Inactive Account Manager?

If you find yourself in a situation where you know you might not be using your Google account for a while, you can use Inactive Account Manager to notify your trusted contacts and give them access to your account. You can set the amount of time before Google considers your account inactive.

This is a valuable feature for people nearing the end of life or working risky jobs. It can give peace of mind that someone can handle your account if the worst happens.

The bug we described in this report happened to be tied to the Inactive Account Manager. Perhaps the messages were linked to accounts flagged as being close to their inactive date when Google would typically send out a reminder email.

If you receive the email warning that your account will soon be inactive, you can ignore it if you’ve actively been using the account. If you want to set up your Inactive Account Manager, go to myaccount.google.com/inactive and click Start, then follow the onscreen instructions.

Keep reading

Google caught collecting more of your personal data – Changes are coming

True or false: That email you got from the Social Security Administration is a phishing scam

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