Google AdWords Account Hacked: False Ads & False Charges

Aug 12, 2008 • 9:22 am | comments (4) by twitter | Filed Under Google AdWords

A Google Groups member recounts one of the worst Google AdWords experiences: finding out that there were fraudulent charges on his card due to a new campaign that was created and incurred over $2000 in false clicks.

It seems that this is becoming more of a trend lately, as other forum members can relate. Another forum member, for example, suffered nearly $3000 in fraudulent charges. Yet another person saw a $5200 charge. On a note closer to home, a close friend of mine saw charges of $9000 over a single 24-hour period -- until Google stepped in and discontinued the campaign.

The concern, obviously, is "how did they get in there? Are you clicking on links that are from phishing scams?" My thought is that these are more savvy users who are not, but somehow the accounts are being hacked regardless. Perhaps it's related to signing into a Google account from a public computer; perhaps it's related to signing in to a Google account on an unsecured WiFi connection. One doesn't really know at this point. (Update: Or perhaps it's related to Google providing the wrong account details to users when they log in, thereby making it easier for people to easily set up fraudulent campaigns!)

However, AdWordsPro assures those who have been impacted that they won't be charged for the fraudulent charges. You're also suggested to contact your bank and Google's AdWords team so that they can perform a thorough investigation.

Forum discussion continues at Google Groups.

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CVOS man

08/13/2008 02:41 am

This is a huge issue. This happened to an associate of mine and he got over 13k in charges over a 3 day period. All Google does is force you to close the account and create a new one. By-by quality score, you will need to regain authority from nil.


08/19/2008 08:14 am

Trend? Oh yes, today I was charged $1600 for a Virussscan campaign. Thank you Google and your security issues!

jason ibarra

01/22/2009 01:04 am

a trend? i got hit for $38,658.97 in less than 12 hours. if google makes me close these accounts im gonna flip! im pissed enough that the hacker deleted all the keywords in an adgroup and paused all other ad groups. established QS is already compromised.

David Ogletree

03/06/2010 11:13 pm

This is a real problem and Google does not seem to care since they profit form it. I have seen this several times. This happened to an account recently and $21,000 was spent. Google never turned it off. We had to turn it off and change pw. Google has the technology to stop this. They use it all the time in organic search. All they have to do is watch the subject of an account. If all of a sudden a new campaign is created from an IP address that has never access the account before and budgets are very different than they normally are then put a hold on account. The other big problem is that you can try passwords all day long with no captcha or limit.

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