Plano Police Issue Cyber ​​Fraud Warning

In a recent Facebook post, Plano police warned of cyber scammers exploiting search engine algorithms. According to the police post, cybercriminals use search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to push fraudulent websites to the top of search results.

“Scammers buy ads to place fraudulent websites at the top of search results and disguise them to mimic trusted websites,” Plano police said in the Facebook post.

These fraudulent websites often imitate logos of legitimate companies and websites that process payments, transfers or purchases, such as PayPal or Lowe’s. The scammers then create a nearly identical fake website and offer a link in the ad that takes users directly to the fake website, where they pretend to be legitimate company employees. Unsuspecting users then unknowingly provide sensitive information, including account details, security codes, usernames and passwords.

Plano Police advise citizens to be cautious when searching online and take several preventative measures:

  • Bookmark frequently visited websites, especially social media and financial platforms, to avoid having to rely on search results.
  • Do not click on links in search results. Instead, manually enter the website address directly into the browser’s address bar.
  • Choose to use official applications from reputable companies for added security.
  • Run antivirus software regularly on all devices to remove ad-generating malware.

The agency also urges users to remain vigilant, report scam sites to the fraud departments of the affected companies, and contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center if they encounter fraudulent activity online. Victims of such scams are urged to contact their local law enforcement authorities to report and receive additional guidance on how to protect their accounts.

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