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Google AdSense Users Being Extorted in Bitcoin

Are you a website owner with a Google AdSense account? If so, you may want to continue reading. A report from KrebsOnSecurity this week has found that criminals have targeted website owners running Google AdSense with an email scam.

How does the Google AdSense scam work?

The scammer targets a website that uses Google AdSense and an email will be sent to the website owner. The email states that the scammer will flood the website’s ads with fake-clicks and bot traffic. This in turn will cause the website’s AdSense account to be terminated. Google’s automated anti-fraud system will close any accounts that receive an abnormal amount of traffic. The victim must pay the scammer with $5,000 worth of Bitcoin in order to avoid the attack. 

Here’s a snippet of the email below:

“Very soon the warning notice from above will appear at the dashboard of your AdSense account undoubtedly! This will happen due to the fact that we’re about to flood your site with huge amount of direct bot generated web traffic with 100% bounce ratio and thousands of IP’s in rotation — a nightmare for every AdSense publisher. More also we’ll adjust our sophisticated bots to open, in endless cycle with different time duration, every AdSense banner which runs on your site.”

Don’t Get Caught

Luckily enough, the address provided by the scammers is still empty. This hopefully means that no one has fallen victim to the trap. For the time being, it seems that this scam is most likely an empty threat. In a statement provided to KrebsOnSecurity, Google provides a help center with tips for AdSense publishers on sabotage.

 “There’s also a form we provide for publishers to contact us if they believe they are the victims of sabotage. We encourage publishers to disengage from any communication or further action with parties that signal that they will drive invalid traffic to their web properties. If there are concerns about invalid traffic, they should communicate that to us, and our Ad Traffic Quality team will monitor and evaluate their accounts as needed.”

It is uplifting that Google is being proactive about the situation. If you or anyone you know has received this email, please urge them to contact Google immediately. Stay safe out there, friends. 

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