GOOGLE has warned drivers about vehicle purchase scams that can clear out their bank accounts.
In today's day and age, scammers can infiltrate just about any scenario to steal money from unsuspecting victims.
And car purchasing scams have long been on the list – but as technology has advanced, they have gotten even riskier.
Google revealed how scammers are using Google Payments to steal people's funds.
"You find a cheap car online, and the seller claims that for your protection the purchase will be completed via Google Payments or Google Play," Google writes in a blog post,
"The car price is 'too good to be true' and the seller claims a need to sell the car quickly because he or she is moving, moving out of the country, being called for military service, getting a divorce, etc.," the site added.
"The reality is that there is no car, and you won’t be using Google Payments," the blog continued.
Instead, buyers are sent an invoice that appears to be from Google Payments or Google Play but will instruct them to pay via Google Play gift cards, Western Union, MoneyGram, or bank transfer.
The tech giant noted that any legitimate Google Payments transaction will require users to sign in to their Google Account and make the payment via the Google Payments interface.
"Google Payments does not accept wire transfers/bank transfers or payments via Western Union/MoneyGram, nor does it use any escrow type of payment," the company stated.
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They also highlighted that because Google Payments used to be called Google Wallet or Google Checkout, some scammers will still use the Wallet or Checkout logo in their emails.
This is a sign to watch out for when purchasing a vehicle online from an illegitimate entity.
Google noted that it's also a violation of their terms of service to use a Play gift card for anything outside of Apps, Books, Movies, Music, and subscriptions on the Google Play store.
"Vehicles and boats are not items eligible for purchase on the Google Play Store," the company added.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
To protect its users, Google shared three "golden rules" for avoiding scams.
The first is to slow down when making big purchasing decisions.
"Scams are often designed to create a sense of urgency. Take time to ask questions and think it through," Google writes.
The second is to spot-check, meaning one should do their research to double-check the details of the purchase.
The third is to stop yourself from sending payments to any entity that doesn't seem reputable.
"No reputable person or agency will ever demand payment or your personal information on the spot," Google noted.
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