FBI Recommends Installing An Ad Blocker To Dodge Scammers | #youtubescams | #lovescams | #datingscams


It’s a good idea to install an ad blocker to help you avoid online scams —and apparently the FBI agrees.  

On Wednesday, the agency issued the recommendation in an alert(Opens in a new window) about avoiding malicious ads over search engines. The threat of so-called “malvertising” has been around for years, but what was notable about the FBI’s alert was its advice on how consumers can protect themselves from the threat.

“Use an ad blocking extension when performing internet searches,” the FBI wrote. “Most internet browsers allow a user to add extensions, including extensions that block advertisements. These ad blockers can be turned on and off within a browser to permit advertisements on certain websites while blocking advertisements on others.”

The FBI pointed to ad blockers as a solution because the cybercriminals are impersonating well-known brands through the malicious advertisements. As a result, it can be hard for unsuspecting users to discern between legitimate ads and those out to scam consumers. 

Indeed, the antivirus provider Malwarebytes points out(Opens in a new window) the fraudsters can place ads that appear to come from legitimate domains such as facebook.com or youtube.com. But in reality, clicking on the ads can redirect you to the scammer’s site.


(Malwarebytes)

The FBI added the cybercriminals will also register internet domains that look similar to the brand or business they’re trying to impersonate. “When a user searches for that business or service, these advertisements appear at the very top of search results with minimum distinction between an advertisement and an actual search result,” the agency added. The same ads can also lead to fake cryptocurrency exchanges or offer phony downloads for a service that actually installs malware to the victim’s computer. 

As a result, the FBI is also urging users to double check the web address or URL for any ad they’re about to click on. Another tip is to visit the business’s website directly by typing in the correct domain, rather than querying for it over a search engine. 

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The FBI further notes: “While search engine advertisements are not malicious in nature, it is important to practice caution when accessing a web page through an advertised link.” Nevertheless, the advice to use an ad blocker isn’t a great look for Google, which pulls most of its revenue from online ads. Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company has systems designed to detect and crackdown on ad scammers.

In the meantime, interested users can check out our guide on which ad blocker can work for you.

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