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’.
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.
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.
Gmail Member Services Team
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.
Last updated: May 17, 2016
First published: May 17, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen