“Here is how the Defendants’ scheme works: using social media pages, posts, and ads with Google trademarks and designed to look like they originate from Google, Defendants exploit the public’s interest in Google’s AI products, and invite them to download free versions of Bard and other Google AI products via links to Google Drive or Google Sites, among other methods. Downloading the file at the link causes malware to install on the user’s device. The malware is designed to access and send the users’ social media login credentials to Defendants, who then access the social media accounts using the stolen credentials,” the lawsuit explained.
The defendants are three individuals whose identities are unknown, but appear to be based in Vietnam, the lawsuit states. They mostly target users with business and advertiser accounts on a large social media platform, often small businesses.
Since April, Google has filed around 300 takedowns related to this group of bad actors, the company said.
The lawsuit seeks an order to stop the scammers from setting up fraudulent domains and allow Google to have them disabled with US domain registrars. “If this is successful, it will serve as a deterrent and provide a clear mechanism for preventing similar scams in the future,” Google said.
Separately, Google also filed another lawsuit going after a group of bad actors that filed hundreds of bogus copyright claims with the company.
“Lawsuits are an effective tool for establishing a legal precedent, disrupting the tools used by scammers, and raising the consequences for bad actors. And over the years, we’ve proactively pursued litigation to stop scammers who exploit the vulnerable, trick small businesses and attempt to extort our users.” — Google
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