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Google cracks down on tech support scam ads

Even the most tech savvy among us need some support every now and again, and when we seek it out, Google is one of the first places we turn. Unless you already know someone who can fix things for you, the monster search engine is arguably the best way to find what you need.

But we are not the only ones who know this, as scammers are also aware of our reliance on the site. Because of that, many have used Google as a way to bait more people into biting on their schemes and experienced much success while doing so.

Obviously, this is not something Google appreciates, even if they haven’t really done much to discourage it. They are trying now, however, and are doing more to keep scams out of its searches.

It won’t be easy

As much as Google may want to get rid of tech support scams, the very nature of its service will make removing all of them a bit of a challenge. The whole point of Google is to be an intermediary between you and what you are hoping to find, and unfortunately that means some things may sneak through.

Yet Google announced it has decided to begin restricting ads for third-party tech support providers.

From Google:

“For many years, we’ve consulted and worked with law enforcement and government agencies to address abuse in this area. As the fraudulent activity takes place off our platform, it’s increasingly difficult to separate the bad actors from the legitimate providers. That’s why in the coming months, we will roll out a verification program to ensure that only legitimate providers of third-party tech support can use our platform to reach consumers.”

Google went on to note that their efforts alone will not stop everyone from trying to “game” their advertising systems, but at the very least it should be much more difficult to do.

And really, that is their goal. Google said they take additional action whenever they see misleading or predatory behavior in specific categories. They already banned payday loans and bail bonds services, and have developed verification programs to help fight fraud in areas such as addiction treatment centers and local locksmith services.

Indeed, this is not Google’s first attempt at removing bad ads

While this concept may be news to you, Google actually purged a good many ads from its site in 2017. In total, more than 3.2 million ads were banned that year, which is almost twice as many as it removed in 2016.

Some were taken away due to being malware-related, while others were “trick to click,” or ads that convinced people to install software they really didn’t want. So really, Google is just taking another welcome step forward.

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