Home ScamsPhishing Scams ‘Validate and Update Your Gmail Account Phishing Scam

‘Validate and Update Your Gmail Account Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email purporting to be from the Gmail Members Services Team claims that you must validate and update your Gmail account to avoid ‘Instant Email Suspension’.

Brief Analysis:
The message is not from Gmail and you do not need to validate and update your Gmail account as claimed. The email is a phishing scam designed to steal your Google Account login details.


Example:
Dear Gmail User,

As part of our security measures, we regularly update all accounts on our database system. Validate and update your Gmail account now to avoid Instant Email SuspensionClick here to verify your account

Warning! Any account owner that refuses to update their account after receiving this email will lose their account permanently.
We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

Sincerely
Gmail Member Services Team



Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, which claims to be from the Gmail Members Services Team, Gmail accounts are regularly updated as a part of ongoing security measures. Therefore, suggests the message, you must click a link to validate and update your account and avoid ‘Instant Email Suspension’. The email further warns that those who refuse to update as requested will lose their accounts permanently.

However, the email is not from the ‘Gmail Members Services Team’ or anybody else at Google and the account suspension threats are just a ruse designed to get you to click the link.

If you fall for the ruse and click the link, you will be taken to a fraudulent website designed to look like a genuine Google page and asked to login with your Gmail address and password. Once you have submitted your login details, you may see a message claiming that you have successfully validated your account.

Meanwhile, the criminals who distributed these bogus emails can use the login details you supplied to hijack your genuine Google account. They may thus be able to access, not only your Gmail account but other Google services including Google Drive, Google+, and  YouTube. The criminals can then use these services to pose as you and launch ongoing spam and scam attacks. They will also be able to access and misuse private information stored in these services.

Gmail 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.

Google has information about how to avoid and report such scams on its help pages.

 




Gmail Phishing Scam

Last updated: May 17, 2016
First published: May 17, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Gmail Account Phishing Scam
Gmail ‘Update 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,
Hoax-Slayer