GOOGLE HELPING TO PROMOTE ONLINE SCAMS – For those who know the true face of Google it will come as no surprise that advertising online scams is big money and Google is not about to turn away any advertisers just because they scam millions of people a year; there’s simply too much profit to be made.
One of the most prolific online scams is for foreign passport applications. For many gaining permanent or temporary entry into a foreign country, noticeably the UK or U.S, can be extremely difficult but online applications do take a lot of the leg work out of the process.
Unfortunately there are many ‘unofficial’ websites setup to look like legitimate government run services and these have only one goal; scamming you out of your money where the same services are available cheaper or for free from the official websites.
The scam is so profitable that the operators turn to Google AdWords in order to promote their scamming services and Google, regardless of who is paying, is more than willing to take the revenue from the advertising.
Getting any website ranked high enough in Google search in order to garner lots of visitors is a task that is akin to climbing Mount Everest in your swimwear carrying a donkey packed with supplies.
With Google continuously updating its search algorithms that penalize websites for the slightest infringement and the fact that it manipulates its own system for its own commercial gain it is little wonder why it is able to generate billions of dollars in advertising revenue annually.
Many of these unscrupulous websites are charging unsuspecting customers for services that the official government websites charge considerably less for and in many cases for free.
If you take the UK’s official Passport Service; operated by HM Passport Office, it charges £72.50 for making a passport application and while this is not exactly cheap it is nothing compared to some of the unofficial website who are charging over £120.00 for the same service.
These very questionable online services are not restricted to passport services but also target the Driving Licence Authority (DVLA) and charge over twice the DVLA rate for changing a driver’s licence from the old paper version to the new credit-card sized plastic licence.
If you undertake a few Google searches for any type of official government documentation, such as a passport, driving licence or even a fishing licence there are many ‘cloned’ or ‘copycat’ websites that look official and yet they are anything but and will charge excessive fees over the official rates.
While the British Government has made numerous complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority there is little that can be done; other than listing these unscrupulous services on their website and issuing the odd fine.
Many will view these types of websites as nothing but scams but what they are doing is technically not illegal.
Google has been questioned about its advertising policy and states that it does not allow advertisers to offer ‘official services’ and that their websites must carry information notifying customers that their services can and often are available for free from the official website; unfortunately these requirements are rarely implemented.
Last week Google did take action against the UK-passport.net website after an investigation by The Guardian newspaper uncovered details of misleading customers and not displaying appropriate information about their excessive charges or the fact that these could be obtained cheaper (or free) from the official websites.
This particular organization did change its wording slightly and has once again appeared in Google Ads at the top of the search results.
It appears that Google are spending too much time in the media attention and all for the wrong reasons. If it is not making money from advertising terrorist activities, on its YouTube service, it’s making money from advertising on the back on child pornography and online scam; and this is in addition to its complex tax avoidance schemes so that it pays virtually nothing in taxes.
Once again this clearly uncovers that Google is unscrupulous when it comes to stuffing its bank account with cash and as it continues to infiltrate governments around the world it is becoming almost untouchable.
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