Welcome to 2017, where nothing is safe — not airline travel, not access to birth control, and now, apparently, not opening your darn emails, either. Many people are reporting on Twitter today that they've fallen victim to a rather inconvenient Google Doc phishing scheme, in which an e-mail shares a Google Doc link with the user which, when clicked on, will cause a phishing virus to then harm their computer. According to people who have experienced it, the email is immediately identifiable because it appears to come from Google Drive, and is shared by this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Google spokesperson issued this statement to Bustle:
We have taken action to protect users against an email impersonating Google Docs, and have disabled offending accounts. We’ve removed the fake pages, pushed updates through Safe Browsing, and our abuse team is working to prevent this kind of spoofing from happening again. We encourage users to report phishing emails in Gmail.
While the internet is no stranger to reports of phishing scams on Google docs, this particular wave of them appears to have begun Wednesday afternoon. People have taken to Twitter to post screencaps for reference, so that other people may avoid the same grisly fate — scams like these can compromise all kinds of personal information stored on computers, including passwords, credit card information, and other personal information that can be obtained through email. Here's what the scam of the day looks like:
Phishing (or malware) Google Doc links that appear to come from people you may know are going around. DELETE THE EMAIL. DON'T CLICK. pic.twitter.com/fSZcS7ljhu— Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) May 3, 2017
If you happen to get this email, the solution is pretty simple: Delete it. Even if you've opened the email but haven't clicked the link, you're still good. Delete it and move on with your life.
If it's too late for that and you've already clicked it, there is a chance that it will blast the same email out to people in your address book. There is also a chance that any personal information stored on your computer is compromised. In the event that you opened it, immediately reset your password — and if it happens to be the same password you use on any other accounts (which is technically not advisable in the first place), change those passwords too. For safety's sake, notify your bank and any credit card accounts you hold that your information has been compromised (better safe than sorry). Send an email or post on Facebook and Twitter letting the people you follow know that you've been exposed to a virus, and to disregard any messages they receive from you online, should they also accidentally click.
Stay safe out there, humans of Google ... aka literally everyone. It's a rough day to internet.