What kind of scam is "Your Google Account Has Been Locked!"?
While inspecting deceptive sites, our research team discovered the "Your Google Account Has Been Locked!" scam. Specifically, it is a technical support scam.
It informs the website's visitor that their Google account has been blocked due to visits to harmful pages which pose significant threats. The scheme urges to call the provided helpline in order to unlock the device.
It must be stressed that all these claims are false, and this scam is in no way associated with Google LLC or any of its products/services.
"Your Google Account Has Been Locked!" scam overview
When a webpage running this scam is accessed, it displays a pop-up. The message therein states that the visitor's Google account has been locked due to recently visited untrustworthy sites. The pop-up window encourages the user to call "Google Support" and unlock the device.
The background page reiterates the information provided in the pop-up. However, it expands upon the nonexistent threat, e.g., potential theft of banking data and photographs, as well as possible access to devices linked via the compromised Google account. The scheme warns that unless action is taken, the device may get permanently blocked on this day. Hence, the scam encourages calling the bogus support.
As mentioned in the introduction, all the information provided by "Your Google Account Has Been Locked!" is false, and this content is not associated with Google.
Tech support scams necessarily involve victims calling fake helplines – however, how they progress past that point can vary. The scammers continue pretending to be "support", "expert technicians", etc. – throughout the scam.
Victims can be tricked into disclosing private data over the phone or into visiting malicious websites and downloading/installing malware. Most technical support scams entail users allowing the cyber criminals to access their devices remotely, typically via software like UltraViewer, TeamViewer, AnyDesk, etc.
Once connected, scammers can disable/uninstall genuine security tools, install fake anti-viruses, extract sensitive information, and even download/install actual malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.).
Seeing as "Your Google Account Has Been Locked!" centers on Google accounts, it is highly likely that this scheme targets their log-in credentials. These accounts have a multitude of purposes and may link several devices – if stolen – their abuse can lead to a variety of severe issues.
Cyber criminals commonly seek the log-in credentials of various accounts such as emails, social networking, social media, messengers, e-commerce, online banking, money transferring, cryptocurrency wallets, etc. Other information of interest can include personally identifiable details (e.g., names, ages, marital statuses, occupations, addresses, contact info, etc.) and finance-related data (e.g., banking account details, credit card numbers, etc.).
Victims can be tricked into disclosing vulnerable information over the phone or entering it into phishing files/websites. Criminals can also use data-stealing malware for this purpose.
The "services" of fake support tend to be incredibly expensive. Scammers prefer difficult-to-trace methods to receive payment so as to avoid persecution and minimize the chances of fund recovery. For example, the money can be sent as cryptocurrency, gift cards, pre-paid vouchers, or cash hidden in innocent-looking packages and shipped. It is noteworthy that successfully scammed victims can get targeted repeatedly.
In summary, victims of scams like "Your Google Account Has Been Locked!" can experience system infections, data loss, severe privacy issues, significant financial losses, and even identity theft.
Should it be impossible to close a scam page, end the browser's process using Windows Task Manager. When the browser is opened again, the previous browsing session must not be restored – as that would reopen the deceptive webpage.
If you have allowed cyber criminals to remotely access your device, you must first disconnect it from the Internet. Remove the remote access program that the scammers used, as they might not need your permission to re-access it. Afterward, run a full system scan with an anti-virus and remove all detected threats.
If you have provided your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you've disclosed other private data (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.
|Name||"Your Google Account Has Been Locked!" tech support scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||User's Google account has been blocked due to visits to suspicious sites.|
|Tech Support Scammer Phone Number||+1(805)-259-3677|
|Detection Names (googlesecuritywarning[.]com)||Combo Cleaner (Phishing), ESET (Phishing), G-Data (Phishing), Kaspersky (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (googlesecuritywarning[.]com)||22.214.171.124|
|Symptoms||Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.|
|Distribution methods||Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.|
|Damage||Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Technical support scam examples
The Web is full of deceptive and malicious content. Popular scam models include fake: warnings, alerts, errors, shipping/delivery mishaps, lotteries, giveaways, refunds, etc. While online scams are notorious for being riddled with spelling and grammatical mistakes, some can be competently disguised as content from legitimate service providers or other entities.
Due to how widespread fraudulent and dangerous content is online – we strongly recommend exercising caution while browsing.
How did I open a scam website?
Scam websites can be force-opened when a webpage using rogue advertising networks is accessed or when content hosted on the latter is interacted with (e.g., clicking buttons, text input fields, ads, links, etc.). Additionally, misspelling a site's URL can result in a redirect to (or a redirection chain landing on) a deceptive page.
How to avoid visiting scam websites?
It is essential to be careful while browsing. We advise against using sites that utilize rogue advertising networks, such as those offering pirated software/media or other questionable services (e.g., Torrenting, illegal streaming and downloading, etc.).
We recommend entering URLs with care and paying attention to them. To avoid receiving undesirable browser notifications – do not permit suspect webpages to deliver them (i.e., do not click "Allow", "Allow Notifications", etc.). Instead, ignore or deny notification requests from such pages (i.e., press "Block", "Block Notifications", etc.).
To prevent bundled/harmful software from infiltrating the system – download only from official/verified sources and approach installation processes with caution (e.g., read terms, study possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt out of all additional apps, extensions, tools, etc.).
If your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate all threats.
Text presented in "Your Google Account Has Been Locked!" scam:
Your Google Account has been locked! Due to recent visiting unsecured sites, Immediately call Google Support +1(805)-259-3677 to unlock it!.
Google ACCOUNT SUSPENDED
Your Google Account has been disabled! Due to recent visiting unsecured sites,your personal data including your banking details,photographs on this device might be stolen via phishing pages. In case it happens,they can access all others Google devices linked to this Google Account are vulnerable.
Your device may be permanently blocked today if no action is taken. Immediately call Google Support
+1(805)-259-3677 to unlock it!.
[Call Google Support]
For more information please
[Contact with us]
Screenshot of "Your Google Account Has Been Locked!" scam background page:
The appearance of "Your Google Account Has Been Locked!" pop-up scam (GIF):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "Your Google Account Has Been Locked!" tech support scam?
- How to identify a pop-up scam?
- How do pop-up scams work?
- How to remove fake pop-ups?
- How to prevent fake pop-ups?
- What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?
How to identify a pop-up scam?
Pop-up windows with various fake messages are a common type of lures cybercriminals use. They collect sensitive personal data, trick Internet users into calling fake tech support numbers, subscribe to useless online services, invest in shady cryptocurrency schemes, etc.
While in the majority of cases these pop-ups don't infect users' devices with malware, they can cause direct monetary loss or could result in identity theft.
Cybercriminals strive to create their rogue pop-up windows to look trustworthy, however, scams typically have the following characteristics:
- Spelling mistakes and non-professional images - Closely inspect the information displayed in a pop-up. Spelling mistakes and unprofessional images could be a sign of a scam.
- Sense of urgency - Countdown timer with a couple of minutes on it, asking you to enter your personal information or subscribe to some online service.
- Statements that you won something - If you haven't participated in a lottery, online competition, etc., and you see a pop-up window stating that you won.
- Computer or mobile device scan - A pop-up window that scans your device and informs of detected issues - is undoubtedly a scam; webpages cannot perform such actions.
- Exclusivity - Pop-up windows stating that only you are given secret access to a financial scheme that can quickly make you rich.
Example of a pop-up scam:
How do pop-up scams work?
Cybercriminals and deceptive marketers usually use various advertising networks, search engine poisoning techniques, and shady websites to generate traffic to their pop-ups. Users land on their online lures after clicking on fake download buttons, using a torrent website, or simply clicking on an Internet search engine result.
Based on users' location and device information, they are presented with a scam pop-up. Lures presented in such pop-ups range from get-rich-quick schemes to fake virus scans.
How to remove fake pop-ups?
In most cases, pop-up scams do not infect users' devices with malware. If you encountered a scam pop-up, simply closing it should be enough. In some cases scam, pop-ups may be hard to close; in such cases - close your Internet browser and restart it.
In extremely rare cases, you might need to reset your Internet browser. For this, use our instructions explaining how to reset Internet browser settings.
How to prevent fake pop-ups?
To prevent seeing pop-up scams, you should visit only reputable websites. Torrent, Crack, free online movie streaming, YouTube video download, and other websites of similar reputation commonly redirect Internet users to pop-up scams.
To minimize the risk of encountering pop-up scams, you should keep your Internet browsers up-to-date and use reputable anti-malware application. For this purpose, we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?
This depends on the type of scam that you fell for. Most commonly, pop-up scams try to trick users into sending money, giving away personal information, or giving access to one's device.
- If you sent money to scammers: You should contact your financial institution and explain that you were scammed. If informed promptly, there's a chance to get your money back.
- If you gave away your personal information: You should change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication in all online services that you use. Visit Federal Trade Commission to report identity theft and get personalized recovery steps.
- If you let scammers connect to your device: You should scan your computer with reputable anti-malware (we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows) - cyber criminals could have planted trojans, keyloggers, and other malware, don't use your computer until removing possible threats.
- Help other Internet users: report Internet scams to Federal Trade Commission.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a pop-up scam?
Pop-up scams are deceptive messages intended to trick users into performing specific actions. For example, victims can be lured into calling fake support lines, allowing remote access to devices, disclosing vulnerable data, transferring money, downloading/installing software, purchasing products, subscribing to services, etc.
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
Pop-up scams aim to generate revenue for their designers. To elaborate, cyber criminals can profit by obtaining funds through deception, abusing or selling private information, promoting content (e.g., websites, products, services, apps, extensions, etc.), proliferating malware, and so on.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Pop-up scams are promoted on deceptive webpages. Users primarily access such sites via redirects generated by pages utilizing rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
I cannot exit a scam page, how do I close it?
End the browser's process using Task Manager. When reassessing the browser, to avoid reopening the scam page – do not restore the previous browsing session.
I have allowed cyber criminals to remotely access my computer, what should I do?
Disconnect the device from the Internet. Once that is done, remove the remote access software that the cyber criminals used (e.g., UltraViewer, TeamViewer, etc.) since they may not need your consent to reconnect. Afterward, run a full system scan with an anti-virus and remove all detected threats.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by a pop-up scam, what should I do?
If you have provided your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you have disclosed other private information (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the corresponding authorities.
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams and the malware they proliferate?
Combo Cleaner is designed to remove all manner of threats. It can scan the websites you visit and detect scam/malicious pages. Additionally, it can restrict all further access to these sites. Combo Cleaner is also capable of scanning computers and eliminating most of the known malware infections. Keep in mind that since malicious programs usually hide deep within systems – performing a full system scan is paramount.