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Google AdWords phishing scam on the loose

The creativity and resourcefulness of the criminal underground never ceases to amaze me. Granted, these guys have nothing else to do but sit around and come up with new scams, but still, some of these things are truly inspired. Have a look at this Google AdWords phishing scam that has been showing up in recent days:

From: Google AdWords <>
Subject: Google AdWords Alert
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2008 02:27:xx +1000 


Our attempt to charge your credit card on Wed, 12 Nov 2008 02:27:xx +1000
for your outstanding Google AdWords account balance was declined.
Your account is still open. However, your ads have been suspended. Once
we are able to charge your card and receive payment for your account
balance, we will re-activate your ads. 

Please update your billing information, even if you plan to use the
same credit card. This will trigger our billing system to try charging
your card again. You do not need to contact us to reactivate your

To update your primary payment information, please follow these steps: 

1. Log in to your AdWords account at: http://adwords .google .com
.session- xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx .xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx .com68 .ru
3. Click 'Billing Preferences' link.
4. Click Edit next to the appropriate 'Payment Details' section.
5. Enter your new or updated payment information.
6. Click 'Save Changes' when you have finished. 

In the future, you may wish to use a backup credit card in order to
help ensure continuous delivery of your ads. You can add a backup
credit card by visiting your Billing Preferences page.
This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does
not accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message. If you
have any questions, please visit the Google AdWords Help Centre at to find answers to
frequently asked questions and a 'contact us' link near the bottom of
the page.

Thank you for advertising with Google AdWords.
We look forward to providing you with the most effective advertising available. 


The Google AdWords Team

I don’t see too many glaring errors in this message that make it stand out as a phish. As the Internet Storm Center diary entry on this scam points out, the only real problems are the URL ending in .ru and the date that is in the future. Aside from that, this is pretty solid work. I’d guess that most average users would have little to no chance of recognizing this as a phishing email. No misspellings, no first-grade grammar and no pleas for money to be transferred to an account in Djibouti. Egads.

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You're right... The majority of the users out on the wire would respond to this type of scam. Awareness is key...