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Deep Dive into AdWords Financial Fraud | Part 2


AdWords offers various ways to pay for charges to your account. For example, depending on your country, you might be able to pay for your advertising costs using a credit card or have the funds directly deducted from your bank account.


The AdWords financial fraud team is constantly monitoring payment and account activity patterns, and works to improve risk detection mechanisms in order to catch fraud more effectively. Let’s take a look at the most common ways fraudsters abuse our systems.


False chargebacks

Fraudsters add their personal or stolen credit cards as the primary payment method on the account to ensure that there's always a way to automatically pay for the ads. Once the advertising targets are reached, fraudsters recall payments made on those cards, retrieving the funds used for payment, and avoiding paying Google for their advertising.


Stolen payment instruments

Cybercriminals gain access to stolen credit cards or bank accounts and use them to pay for AdWords advertising. The advertised content is usually misleading and may not adhere to our policy guidelines. Once suspended, accounts that use fraudulent payment methods can never be re-activated.


Identity fraud

Fraudsters not only steal billing information but may also engage in identity fraud. They use stolen identities to mask themselves as advertisers on AdWords, in hopes of sneaking past Google’s risk checks.


Intentional account delinquency

The presence of accounts with repeated bad debt or suspicious content is a common trend seen with delinquent advertisers. These fraudsters default on their payments and stop using the accounts, only to then create new ones.


Although cybercriminals are getting smarter and more efficient in their abuse of the ad network, our financial fraud fighting team works hard to stay ahead of these fraudsters. We work around the clock on security systems for our products to provide an excellent user experience.