Skip to main content
Australia Blog

Safety & Security

How we’re stopping scams and working to create a safer internet

An image depicting a woman at a computer

Across Australia, like the rest of the world, we’ve all experienced an increase in online scams over the last few years. At the same time, we’ve also seen an increase in people’s awareness of scams. Compared to the year before, we’ve seen over 90% more searches related to “scams” on Google in 2023.

Today on Safer Internet Day we’re sharing more on how we’re working to prevent scams on our platforms and our best tips on how to avoid scams online.

Built-in protections to keep you safe

As the Internet and smartphones have integrated into our daily lives, they’ve also become pivotal gateways to our personal data — whether it’s our banking information, shopping accounts or health statistics. Scammers apply a variety of deceptive tactics across an always-expanding range of channels like fraudulent messages, alluring offers, impersonation and more.

At Google, we focus on developing technology with built-in security measures: a secure-by-default approach. For example, our AI-enabled spam and abuse filters on Gmail and Google Search help block the vast majority of suspicious emails and spam sites before they ever reach you.

A graphic outlining five ways Google keeps people safe from scams

Working collaboratively to prevent online scams

While we are focused on product design and policies that prevent scams, we recognise that creating a safer Internet for everyone is a collective effort. The rise in scams shows we need to reinforce digital literacy — particularly among those most vulnerable. This is why we also invest in broader consumer awareness raising exercises such as supporting Scamwatch during Scam Awareness Week, promoting Google’s Security Checkup on the Google homepage in Australia, and working with consumer organisations such as ACCAN to heighten understanding of gift card scams.

We’ve also worked closely with the Australian Government’s economy-wide efforts to address scams. Because financial scams are prevalent, and especially harmful, we expanded our verification program for financial services advertisers to Australia in June 2022, requiring financial services advertisers in Australia to demonstrate they are authorised by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and have completed Google’s advertiser verification program, in order to promote their financial products and services through ads. This helps us all to make more informed decisions before we click on any links.

An image depicting the top safety searches across APAC

How we’re improving our approach to tackling scams

We know through our efforts to address these important issues that bad actors are always looking for ways to take advantage of people online. Increasingly, we’ve seen them use sophisticated deceptive techniques to hide from our detection or promote non-existent virtual businesses, to lure unsuspecting consumers off our platforms with an aim to defraud them.

We’re tackling this adversarial behaviour in a few key ways including:

  • Introducing new policies and programs including our advertiser identity verification program and business operations verification program.
  • Investing in technology to better detect coordinated adversarial behaviour, allowing us to connect the dots across accounts and suspend multiple bad actors at once.
  • Improving our automated detection technology and human review processes based on network signals, previous account activity, behaviour patterns and user feedback.

How to identify and avoid scams online

When it comes to spotting scams online, there are a few important rules that are worth remembering.

  1. Slow it down - Scams are often designed to create a sense of urgency. Take time to ask questions and think it through.
  2. Spot check - Do your research to double check the details you are getting. Does what they’re telling you make sense?
  3. Stop! Don’t send - No reputable person or agency will ever demand payment or your personal information on the spot.
  • A graphic stating 'stay alert and be aware of scammers'
  • Sharing is Caring
  • An image warning not to reply to anonymous texts

We’re committed to building on these efforts to stop scams and do our part to help build a safer internet for everyone, and to working across the Australian community to protect Australians from harm. You can find more practical tips to stay safe online here: