What does it mean for digital marketing if a scammer is able to slip by Google’s detection systems and promote fake ads for eBay, one of the world’s most trusted websites?

Scammers were successfully able to set up a fake AdWords account for eBay and have the ads running on Google. Everything looks as it should with the ad copy and URL displaying as it normally should:

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However, when you click through you are taken to this page. To the every day user this could still look legitimate as the scammers have included another strong brand in Woolworths, however when you look at the URL it’s clearly a scam:

2-2This is clearly not the eBay sign in page. Attempting to click back only results in:

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Leaving the page then results in yet another spam attack:

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The next step in the spam journey takes you to the following page (after pressing back again):

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Thankfully this scam was identified by Google (either internally or by another source) and has since been removed, but there is no doubt that they were able to accumulate a wealth of data from the general internet user who would have just thought eBay were running a promotion. There are huge implications here when a scammer is able to get through the Google checks and run this activity.

 

Does this sort of behaviour become a legitimate (admittedly black hat) technique in order to gather customer data from direct competitors? Even a few hours of active scamming on a website like Amazon could mean that tens of thousands of email addresses and other information can be gathered, added to big email databases or sold to other scammers. We hope that this is a loophole that Google is able to permanently close.