Today I received a notification with the Google Maps logo on my phone and the text (including misspellings):
You Have Recived Free Prize From Google Calm Here [URL]*
(*Note: I removed the actual URL to prevent others from visiting it.)
When I tapped the notification I was taken to Google Maps, and it was showing the message:
You Have Recived Free Prize isn’t sharing with you
These people are very clever in figuring out new ways of scamming others, but they can’t seem to get good at spelling words properly.
I like to learn about these scams, so I wanted to know what the URL does. I used a safe box to visit it from the command line.
The original URL uses Twitter’s short link feature. It then redirects to another domain (which I will omit for obvious reasons), which in turn redirects to another domain, which redirects to yet another domain. All these domains are from NameCheap.
The URL has an ID that if you change it you see a different “giveaway”. The one sent to me was a “Free Phone Case Giveaway”. Another I saw was “Air Jordan Giveaway”.
The page asks for “Shipping Info”, including Name, Email, Address and Country. But then it shows this:
Congratulations, you qualify for our Phone Case Giveaway
Due to an unusual amount of giveaway entries, users are now required to complete a brief human verification process.
And links to a website where you need to fill out a survey, and whoever owns the Id for the link will make money off of you.
Let’s hope Google closes this loophole in Google Maps, along with the other issues that came out last month.