Scammers know no limits to the methods they’ll use to scam consumers. Be on the watch for a trending scam where fraudsters are contacting potential victims through their Google Calendar invites.
By default, any time someone sends a calendar invite Google Calendar settings automatically adds the invitation in your Google Calendar as a meeting. Scammers send calendar invitations to the victim’s email claiming they have won a prize, or received a wire transfer and prompting the user to click on an attachment or link.
Instead of receiving the claimed prize, what users get is infected with malware which exposes their computer or device to viruses or they are sent to a phishing website. Phishing websites are fake websites set up to lure consumers into entering their sensitive financial information which the con artists use to commit identity theft. The victims are now left to deal with the aftermath of having their money stolen, fraudulent accounts set up in their name, and other disastrous results of identity theft.
To protect yourself from a potential scam put these best practices into use:
- Update your default settings to prevent the app from adding meetings/events to your calendar that you have not approved. To change this setting:
- Open Google Calendar app or visit https://calendar.google.com and sign into your Google Account
- Select Settings (found at the top right)
- Under the “General” tab, click Events settings>Automatically add invitations
- Choose “No, only show invitations to which I have responded.”
- Never click on links and attachments from anyone you so not recognize. Even if you recognize the person contacting you, exercise caution if you receive a link or attachment you were not expecting. Reach out to the contact directly to verify that the invitation or correspondence actually came from them. It could be a phishing scam.
- Report any suspicious communications or Spam to Google.
- Warn others about the scam by filing a complaint with Business Consumer Alliance.
Want to keep up to date on current scams, consumer information, and similar alerts? Follow Business Consumer Alliance on Facebook and Twitter for news and tips to avoid scams.
About Business Consumer Alliance
Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.