How we help protect you from scams and personal fraud

Just like in the offline world, there are con artists and fraudsters on the Internet. Google takes a number of steps to help keep you from getting scammed.

Banning bad ads (and bad advertisers)

We have very clear policies about who can show ads through Google’s tools. We designed our ads policies with user safety and trust in mind. For example, we don’t allow ads for malicious downloads, counterfeit goods or ads with unclear billing practices. And if we find an ad scam, we don’t just ban the ad – we ban the advertiser from ever working with Google again.

Being clear about costs

One way that online criminals make money is by using someone’s computer or phone to do something that costs that person money, and gives money to the criminal. For example, one scheme is to create an app that can make someone’s phone send text messages or call a paid phone chat line, which then charges that person money, which is collected by the scammer.

On phones powered by Android, you can see what an app will request do with your phone by looking at the description in Google Play that says “permissions.” Look at this information before you download an app to help decide whether you want to get it or not. For example, if you’re getting ready to download a new ringtone app, you can see if that app may make phone calls on your behalf. If you decide that sounds suspicious, you can decide not to install the app.

For more recent Android devices, we will let you know if an app tries to send SMS to a telephone number that might cause you additional charges. You can then choose whether to allow the application to send the message or block it.