Thursday AM December 10th, 2009

Google has filed civil action against companies they say are behind fraudulent "Google money" schemes. These are web sites that say "make money from Google, work from home," as Ed Mayberry reports.

Google logoGoogle says work at home offers that utilize its logo are not created or endorsed by Google.  Thousands have been tricked into sending credit information.  The problem has been growing in the difficult economy, as Google's Jason Morrison explains.

"We're working really hard to make sure that our automated systems are getting smarter and better able to detect these sort of things.  It is sort of like a game of whack-a-mole.  We'll find another Web site with a different name but the same exact text and the same exact pitch.  These companies are using our name and logo without our permission, and what we found from user complaints is that very often, once they have your credit card information, they'll put a large number of much larger charges on your credit card."

Morrison says there are three things consumers can do to protect themselves from these types of scams.

"Do research.  If you're interested in a business, just do a Web search for the company name.  and if people are having a bad experience with that company, you'll find out about it really quickly.  Be skeptical like you would with anything else.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  The final thing is we encourage people to — if they feel they've been scammed — talk to their credit card company, their bank.  If anyone does happen to find anything in our ads or in our search index that looks scammy, definitely let us know."

Google filed suit in U.S. District Court in Utah against Pacific Webworks and 50 unnamed defendants, accusing the companies of being behind at least some of the fraudulent "Google money" schemes. 

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...