"Google Has Decided To Close Your Account" Phishing Scam
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“Google Has Decided To Close Your Account” Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

“Update Request” email claims that Google has decided to close your account unless you open an attached file and follow the account review and update instructions.

The email is not from Google and the claim that your account will be closed if you do not update your details is a lie.  This is just one more in a long line of similar “update account” phishing scams.

Opening the attachment that comes with the email loads a PDF ( see screenshot below). The PDF falsely claims that you have been using an older version of Gmail and, therefore,  you must click a link to complete the update task.

If you do click this link, you will be taken to a fraudulent website designed to look like a genuine Google page and asked to sign in with your Gmail address and password. After you have supplied your login details, you will be told that the update has been completed and you will be automatically redirected to the genuine Google Account home page.

But alas, the scammers can now use the login details you supplied to take control of your genuine Google account. They will be able to access, not only your Gmail account but other Google services including Google Drive, Google+, and  YouTube. The criminals can use these services to pretend to be you and launch ongoing spam and scam attacks. They will also be able to access and misuse private information stored in these services.

Google will never send you an email that demands that you click a link to update account details. If you receive such an email, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.

The Google help pages include information on how to avoid and report such scams.


"Google Has Decided To Close Your Account" Phishing Scam

Initial phishing scam email.

"Google Has Decided To Close Your Account" Phishing Scam

Screenshot of attached PDF.

Last updated: March 2, 2017
First published: March 2, 2017
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

‘Validate And Update Your Gmail Account Phishing Scam
Avoid and report Google scams

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,