It’s important for every company owner to be able to spot an ad scam and A. avoid falling for it, or B. allowing it on their site. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be tough to pick out ad scams and stay safe. Ad scams change all the time, so staying educated is going to be key. This is where the new TrustInAds.org comes into play.
The Story Behind the New TrustInAds.org Organization
The cool thing about this new organization is that it works with some of the biggest players in the industry all working together—Facebook, AOL, Google, and Twitter. While the main goal of the organization is to educate consumers, it can also be used to educate business owners and help give alerts regarding specific ads.
The group will publish what they call “Bad Ads Trend Alerts” regularly so that people can take note. According to some of the companies like Google and Facebook, this started because they were noticing faulting advertisers on their own sites. The process went like this:
- An advertiser would say they were a part of a specific tech company.
- They would offer support services for different issues (such as Gmail and/or Facebook login problems).
- They would ask users to download and install certain software, which actually contained malware, spyware, adware, etc.
According to an article on Search Engine Land, oftentimes the ads and landing pages offered 1-(800) numbers to take the scam offline, which made it difficult for some of these companies to detect the scam through their automated detection programs. Google and Facebook say they removed over 4,000 suspicious advertiser accounts linked to over 2,400 tech support websites. Google even explained that in 2013 they removed over 350 million bad ads and received more than 100,000 complaints. This is when all of the companies decided they needed to pull their resources and give consumers a chance to help.
The group setup a page on the website where consumers can report any ads that they see on the four platforms (AOL, Facebook, Google, Twitter). Between this feature and the trend alerts, this seems to be a step in the right direction for eliminating malicious ad scams. Below is a screenshot of what you’ll see when you click the above link:
Other Ways to Catch Ad Scams and Avoid Them
Of course before you can report a bad ad you have to be able to identify it, so consider some of the following criteria:
- Always check the website and/or call the provider who is offering you services. When you do this, you can tell if someone is posing as a representative or actually is one.
- Never give any passwords over the phone.
- Never download a piece of software from a third-party tech support provider.
- Keep your antivirus software up to date.
Again, this is just as important for company owners as it is for consumers. You don’t want to fall for any ad scams because that could cause a breach in the security of your company, so the more you can be alert and help the organization compile information, the better.
If you have any experiences with bad ads that could help future businesses, let us know in the comment section below.