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Google Search causes woman to lose Rs 1 lakh; here’s how it happened

Google allows anyone to edit the contact details of a business/organization it shows up in search results.

  • Published: December 18, 2018 8:42 PM IST
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To say that technology has made our lives easier would probably be a major understatement. Whether it’s calling a cab, ordering a pizza, paying utility bills, or just about anything else, all you need is a network connection and a computer/smartphone. Among the many digital services that billions of people use on a daily basis, Google Search is probably one of the most popular. But while Google Search is popular for helping people find what they want, in a recent case, it has caused one person to lose a huge amount of money.

Yep, you read that right! The incident is from East Delhi’s Seemapuri, where a woman was scammed out of Rs 1 lakh by something as simple as a Google Search. Now, what must be clarified beforehand is that Google had no part to play in this. Instead, a feature offered by the world’s most-popular search engine was misused by scammers to dupe the victim of her money.

According to a report by The Better India, the aforementioned woman was facing some issues with her e-wallet account. To get help, she looked up the customer care number of the e-wallet service, hoping to resolve the issues with a simple call. On calling the number found through Google Search, she shared all her bank details (associated with e-wallet account) and even her card information. But instead of having the problems with e-wallet resolved, she soon found out that her bank account had been drained of Rs 1 lakh.

So, exactly what role Google had to play in this? These days, whenever people want to look up contact details of any organization/business establishment, they use Google Search. However, what many of them don’t know is that Google allows anyone to edit the contact details on its platforms (e.g. Search, Maps) to enhance its own database.

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Taking unfair advantage of this functionality, scammers replace the legitimate contact numbers of business establishments with their own contacts. When unsuspecting victims call these fake numbers, they are misled into giving away their confidential information (e.g. bank account numbers, passwords), mostly under the pretext of establishing identity. And with the victims’ private details in hand, the fraudsters’ job becomes that much easier.

So next time you find a contact number on Google Search, make sure it’s the real deal before hitting that dial button.

  • Published Date: December 18, 2018 8:42 PM IST