November 29, 2014

Receive Alerts, Spot and Report Online Ad Scams With TrustInAds.org

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It’s important for every company owner to be able to spot an ad scam and 1) avoid falling for it or 2) avoid 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 faulty advertisers on their own sites. The process went like this:

  1. An advertiser would say they were a part of a specific tech company.
  2. They would offer support services for different issues (such as Gmail and/or Facebook login problems).
  3. They would ask users to download and install certain software, which actually contained malware, spyware, adware, etc.

According to an article at 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:

online ad scams

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.

Images: TrustInAds

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HigherVisibility HigherVisibility is part of the Small Business Trends Publisher Channel, offering a full range of professional interactive marketing services. The mission of HigherVisibility is to provide clients “Valuable Solutions with Visible Results.” HigherVisibility works with companies of all sizes, offering advice on topics ranging from keyword research to algorithm updates.

6 Reactions

  1. I’m cool with it as long as they employ an “innocent until proven guilty” model. I don’t wan’t competitors reporting my clients’ ads, having them taken down, and I have to spend hours/days getting my ads back live.

    • I agree. I think that it should have a testimonial system that should filter the fake from the real ones. Competitor bashing is quite normal these days. And websites like these are always prone to it.

  2. With certain dubious people looking for an increasing number of ways in which to deceive folks, TrustInAds is a step in the right direction. It would be good to see this on other platforms besides the current ones.

  3. We somehow got caught in this, we are a tech support company based out of Brooklyn, NY and tried to open an adwords account to target the market. Unfortunately our account was shut down immediately. No specific reason was given but we think this could be due to such an effort by these companies. We are new but would like to establish our market but got caught up in the web of online scammers. Its still not clear how will they be able to establish the difference between legitimate companies and the scammers. Have a look at our website, we spent a lot on the development of the website – fixpcerror.us

    • John, have you tried contacting Google to find out precisely why your account was closed? They might not have given a reason initially when it was closed, but it might be worth contacting them. It could be the case that you just got wrongly caught up in whatever system they have in place to filter out online scams. I’ve experienced something similar with one of my blogs in the past (not an Adwords issue – my blog was wrongly marked as spam by its automated system – but it got reinstated after I contacted them).

      • Hi Ebele,

        I did numerous times but have not received any appropriate response from them. i think they have an internal policy of not accepting any new entrants in the Tech Support industry. They have not released a statement on this but I seriously think that this is what is happening now.

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