Google is working to purge its search platform of adverts for illegitimate online tech support, the Wall Street Journal has said
The action has been inspired by a Journal-conducted investigation finding that fraudsters are purchasing space to then advertise under the pretence of being verified service agents for companies such as Apple.
Google, speaking to the Journal, has previously spoken of its ongoing commitment to removing bad ads from its platform, stating that it had removed 100 ads per second last year over violations of company policies.
According to the Journal, “a 2018 study found 72% of sponsored ads on major search engines related to technical support queries led to scam websites”.
Upon contacting one of these false tech support companies, customers are commonly tricked into providing remote access to their devices.
Scammers then run bogus diagnostic programs which tell the victim their machine is suffering major faults, thereby encouraging the victim to buy fake solutions to the problems.
Google plans to introduce a fresh verification initiative to combat these scams.
“One of our top priorities is to maintain a healthy advertising ecosystem”, David Graff, Google’s global product policy director, said in a statement on the company’s blog.
“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 customers”.
He added: “These efforts alone won’t stop all bad actors trying to game our advertising systems, but it will make it a lot harder”.