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Watch Facts About Fiction: How to spot fake online ads – Google Technology News


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Apart from stopping yourself from clicking on suspicious links and carrying out some research, you can also use a few online tools to detect fake online ads. Here’s how

Online fraud through advertisements is an easy way to lure over 400 million people with access to the internet and social media accounts in the country. The objective of these fake online advertisements is simple, to steal money or damage online reputation.

Online advertising fraud happens through almost all social media platforms and via WhatsApp, SMS, emails, and even e-commerce platforms. Early this year, three men in their twenties in Chennai were arrested for allegedly cheating a 19-year-old college student with a fake advertisement on social media to lure people into investing in stocks for double returns. The teenager had lost Rs 30,000 and died by suicide following the losses she incurred through online trading.

The modus operandi

1. Advertisements are floated anywhere on the internet, usually without a target audience.

2. The fraudster may advertise trending and costly goods at a comparatively lower price.

Festive offer

3. On catching the victim’s attention, the fraudster may ask for an advance payment and later demand delivery charges or GST.

4. Some expert fraudsters also send the delivery tracking details to make the victim believe that they are actually going to receive the product.

5. The fraudster usually blocks the calls from the victim once they transfer the amount.

6. These fake advertisements usually offer fake discounts and ‘limited-time offers’. They also display an urgent tone and have fake review videos.

Here’s how you can detect fake online advertisements and save yourselves from falling into the trap of these fraudsters:

1. Check the domain name

Check the domain names and see if the link is legitimate. For example, ‘amazon’ can be spelt ‘amaz0n’, with zero instead of an ‘o’.

2. Check the comments

If this is an advertisement on any social media platform, check the comments section. Victims of the scam tend to share their stories in the comments section to save others from falling into the trap.

3. Do some research

Rather than blindly believing the advertisement, you can do some online research about it and see if anybody has registered a complaint about the website.

Tools that can be used for research:

There are three online tools that can help you research online advertisements and their URLs.


This website provides high-quality domain data and accurate, actionable insights on domains and the people behind them from a single search. The online tool provides details such as registrar information and important dates of the website, such as its expiration date, registration date and updation date. The tool also provides similar domain names. One can also check DNS (Domain Name System) records through the same. is a very useful tool and can be used to identify the credibility of any website.


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This tool is designed to help users determine whether a given website is likely to be a phishing site or not. It provides a simple and quick way for users to check the legitimacy of a website by entering its URL.

3. Google Social Search

This website provides a tool for searching social media content specifically on Google’s social search feature. It allows users to find publicly available social media updates, articles and blogs related to their search queries. This is a helpful tool to conduct thorough research on any website or social media account.

It is important to note that while the above-listed tools can be useful, they may not catch all phishing attempts, and users should exercise caution and follow general cybersecurity practices, such as not clicking on suspicious links, verifying the legitimacy of websites, especially if they involve sensitive and financial information.

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