CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


Google exec gets scammed, Google cracks down on scammers

He ordered a Bluetooth headset on Google Shopping, but it never arrived. So, says a report, his colleagues tapped tech to tighten the screws on 5,000 bogus accounts.

Google Shopping

Google Shopping's trust and safety team reportedly found 5,000 merchant accounts that were scamming users.

Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images

Google is buckling down on fraud on its shopping site after a company executive was reportedly scammed while purchasing a Bluetooth headset. 

The executive, CNBC reports, ordered the high-end headset earlier this year when he saw it was selling for a low price. But it was too good to be true: The merchant, despite claiming to be in the US, was actually based in Vietnam, and took the Google employee's credit card information without ever sending the product

When the employee reported the case to his co-workers at Google, they not only banned the bogus seller from listing new products but also kicked off a global probe which identified 5,000 merchant accounts that were scamming users. 

Google has dealt with a series of scams on its services, ranging from Google Docs to ads. To combat the incident on its shopping site, Google Shopping's trust and safety team used advanced data algorithms and searched for links between merchant accounts. Using machine learning, the company found several merchants who had similar data and online habits. More than 5,000 websites that appeared to belong to companies based in the US were actually backed by a group of scammers in Vietnam. Those merchants were banned from Google's ads product. 

It's likely the company will increasingly face such schemes as it expands its role in commerce. Last month, Google launched a new service called Shopping Actions, designed to make it easier for people to purchase items they search for on Google. The service is part of an effort to curb the popularity of Amazon, a key player in the e-commerce space. Seattle-based Amazon has become the default search engine for product searches for most Americans, according to researchers. But Amazon has also had its own struggles with counterfeit products.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an interview with CNBC, Saikat Mitra, Google Shopping's director of trust and safety, said, "Our mission is to make a platform like Google Shopping so safe, that people will feel like, 'OK, I found this through Google Shopping so I trust it.'" 

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

Blockchain Decoded:  CNET looks at the tech powering bitcoin -- and soon, too, a myriad of services that will change your life.