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Safeguard Your Google Adwords Account Against Fraud

For those who use Google AdWords, you are most likely familiar with the plain text-only emails that Google sends out for verifying your account details. But watch out for any emails that solicit you to update your account and payment details. You should always login directly by typing www.google.com/adwords. Messages will be displayed directly on the Campaign Summary or Account Snapshot page.

At some stage, most people have had an encounter with internet scams, viruses, spyware or other security problems. Scam artists are an inescapable reality in today’s world and making assumptions about security is irresponsible. A pay per click account makes an appealing target to a technically clever criminal and gaining access to someone’s account permits them to promote their scam at someone else’s expense.

Here are a few guidelines to help defend your account's security. Bear in mind this is best practice for security of any sensitive financial, business or personal information, not just AdWords.

1. Google will NEVER request your account information by email; they won’t even ask for your password on the phone. All they ever ask for is the 10 digit account number. They don’t require any other information to open up the account for viewing. Most legitimate enterprises don’t require your login details, so if someone requests them, be very cautious.

2. If you receive messages about something you didn’t initiate, likely this is about something not to your benefit. i.e.: receiving a confirmation of a password change when you didn’t change your password, etc

3. Always employ security solutions and keep them up to date. Virus protection, firewall and spyware protection are essential for any system that connects to the internet.

4. Use strong, secure passwords. Weak passwords, while easy to remember, are also very basic for password cracking programs. A strong password contains both alphabetical and numeric characters and utilizes capitalization, length and special characters. As well, stronger passwords don’t use recognizable or easy to guess words.

5. Assign different passwords. If you use the same password because it’s easier to remember, then everything you do becomes compromised if any forums or sites you use become breached. If you have hundreds of logins and passwords, use RoboForm to securely store them. This type of program can also reduce vulnerability to keylogger type spyware.

6. Restrict the number of account users with administrative access to the minimum necessary. The more people who have access, the greater the chance of an information leak.

7. Disconnect from the internet or power down your computer when you are not using it to greatly reduce the chance of bad things happening unnoticed.

8. Don’t transmit login or password information by insecure means such as email or instant messaging. Generally, if you have to pass on that sort of info, you should do it by phone.

9. Audit your account regularly; particularly at the end of the week and take random peeks on the weekends. It only takes a moment to log on and check for abnormal account activity.

The most vital thing to remember is that if you leave yourself open, there are people out there who will rob you blind. A touch of paranoia along with a pinch of common sense will go a long way to saving yourself some real hassle.

  

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