Google Hangouts Scams
Do you know Hangouts? Google Hangouts is an advanced service of the search engine giant for video conferencing and instant messaging. In principle, Hangouts is therefore a communication platform. You can use it to:
- write messages
- make phone calls
- make video calls
Now you might be wondering, how can it be used to commit fraud? Well, not with Google Hangouts itself, but the fraudsters use Hangouts as a platform to communicate with their victim and write messages or make a fake video chat.
How Google Hangouts Scams Happen
In most cases, African internet scammers use the Google Hangouts platform to text with potential victims. The scam is an advance fee fraud crime and falls under the collective term of scamming. How do Google Hangouts scams work exactly?
In so-called romance scamming, a perpetrator first writes to you under a false name on a platform on the Internet. This can be social media, chat rooms, dating sites, singles exchanges and so on. Popular platforms are
- Plenty of Fish
- and many other social networking sites and online dating apps.
To do this, the criminal – called a romance scammer – sets up a fake profile with stolen photos and a made-up name. The profile can show a man or a woman.
A lively correspondence then follows via the platform. After some time, the romance scammer asks the victim to switch to the Google Hangouts app. This is free and secure. He justifies this by saying that he wants to unsubscribe from the other platform.
In reality, this is just a precautionary measure on the part of the scammer, because he must expect at any moment that the platform’s algorithms will recognize his profile as false or that someone else will report him. In the event of a block, the painstakingly established contact with the victim would be lost immediately.
Fraudsters prefer to communicate via Google Hangouts, since you only need an email to register. Therefore it is anonymous and easy to use.
You download Google Hangouts and write with the scammer
You respond to the offender’s request and then continue to write with him via Google Hangouts. This is easy and quick to implement. After some time, he confesses to you the great love he feels for you. And he talks about a solid relationship and a future together while chatting.
At some point, the abuser then asks you for money. This can be for a thousand different reasons, but the request comes. Do not believe in the lies romance scammers make up. It can be money for
- a plane ticket
- a business idea
- a gold find that needs to be sent by courier or diplomat
- a box he wants to send you
- customs fees
- medical bills
- money for medicines
- money for food
- a loan
- a share
- and many other stories to scam even more dollars
It doesn’t have to be cash. In the Google Hangout scam, the romance scammers accept all conceivable forms of payment and money substitution methods such as:
- Bank account transfers
- Cash via Western Union or MoneyGram
- Bitcoin transfer
- Amazon gift cards
- iTunes credit cards
- Steam Gift Cards
- and other options
All forms of romance scams have one thing in common: they are intended to send money or money substitutes to third parties.
Can the operator of Google Hangouts prevent the scam?
Google Hangouts is a reputable platform and has nothing to do with the romance scam. In fact, the romance scammers use the messenger primarily because it is an extremely popular platform in Africa and so easy to use. They are always amazed that people outside of Africa are often not that familiar with Google Hangouts.
Hangouts is relatively unknown, and for someone to get you from the most influential platforms into that, it’s surely suspicious. And yet, sooner or later, the scammer cunningly convinces you to switch to Hangouts for further chat.
Do not use Hangouts for phishing. Refrain from soliciting or collecting sensitive data, including but not limited to passwords, financial details, and Social Security numbers. Do not use Hangouts to trick, mislead, or deceive other users into sharing information under false pretences.
Do not impersonate another person or otherwise misrepresent yourself or the source of a Hangouts message or call. (Source: Google).
Is Google Hangouts safe?
In principle, the Google Hangouts app is secure. However, this does not change the fact that numerous scammers take advantage of the app and run their scams through it.
Avoid sending money to a stranger you only know through social media accounts, a dating app and Google Hangouts. The damage caused by romance scams reached sums in the billions worldwide.
Those who have lost money through romance scams, in most cases, never see it again. You can report scammers to the police, but that usually won’t get you your money back because most scammers are based in Africa.
Sometimes scammers ask just for your information, which is then used for new scams. However the ultimate goal is to get money from their victims.
How do I protect myself from Google Hangouts scams?
As long as you do not send money or anything else to some stranger you know only from the Internet, you will not suffer any financial damage. And in any case, do not send photos to a stranger where you are naked. Always remember that social accounts are created anonymously very quickly. This is exactly what romance scammers take advantage of.
10 Tips to save you from being harmed by Romance Scams
Please pay attention to these tips to avoid Google Hangouts app scams. Red flags should appear when you have these occurrences
- If you have met someone through social media platforms or other place on the Internet who urges you to continue communication on Hangouts, be mindful.
- Does your chat partner need to travel to Africa for work or family reasons or an inheritance? If so, this is con in most cases.
- Does your chat partner want money for a visa, plane ticket or other things? Then it is 99% scam – this also applies to women from Russia that you met on the Internet.
- Never disclose personal data about yourself to someone you met online. If you have done that anyway and someone wants to send you a package, you refuse – it is it is a fraudulent intention because you are supposed to pay fees for it.
- If someone offers to transfer money to your account for you to forward, you refuse – it is dangerous and could be an accessory to a crime as you may become a financial agent.
- Is someone threatening to kill themselves if you don’t help them? This is a popular romance scam to get other people’s money.
- If someone wants to send you a check from abroad that they want you to cash and immediately forward the money to others, he is most certainly a con artist.
- Do not send identification documents of yourself to strangers.
- Avoid sending nude photos or intimate videos to people you have never seen in real life.
- Have you met a star on the Internet on social media and now write with him via Google Hangouts? Now one offers you a meet and greet for money or asks you to donate. These are financial scams.
Do you need help to recognize a Hangouts scam?
Time and time again, we handle cases of Internet fraud. The damage can be enormous. For example, we just recently had a case of advance fee fraud where the damage was about $200,000.
The victim believed the scammer because she had seen him in a video phone call. The victim did not notice that this video call was technically falsified and only a fake. Also, a video phone call says nothing about the person’s identity in the video. An experienced fraudster speaks naturally and is very calculating to win your trust gradually. He wants to scam people and that’s why he goes to great lengths.
Are you in touch with someone and not quite sure if everything they tell you is true? If you are unsure, an investigator from our team will help you find out the truth.
We will check the person discreetly so that you don’t fall for a fraudster’s schemes via Hangouts. Very quickly you will have certainty. We check people from social media accounts and determine if they are real or just fakes. In a few days you will know the full truth about the person you are writing with online.
In the process, we check people from all over the world to see if they are romance scammers. For example, we investigate in countries like
- United States
- United Kingdom
- and almost every other country in the world
We are familiar with every kind of romance scam and have already exposed many scammers. There are for example
If the person you are connected with turns out to be a scammer through our background check, we will try to determine who the real person is in the pictures the scammer has sent you.
Online security is a valuable asset and certainty protects you from avoidable financial loss and a broken heart. Therefore, if you are in doubt, let us advise you now about your online partners.
Get peace of mind: Contact us today