# The Rise of Crypto Scams: How Google Ads is Being Used to Fool Investors
The crypto-industry is experiencing a boom, and unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of this. However, it is not always easy to identify whether a project is legitimate or a scam, and scammers are cleverly exploiting this. One tool they are using to their advantage is Google Ads.
## What is Google Ads and how are scammers using it?
Google Ads is a platform that allows businesses to pay to have their website or product appear at the top of search engine results pages for specific keywords. Unfortunately, scammers are using this tool to create fake ads to promote fraudulent websites.
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According to Scam Sniffer, a recent increase in phishing scams via Google Search has resulted in $4.16 million in damages to investors. Many scammers use the names of well-known, trustworthy websites, such as DefiLlama and Lido. However, it is not always obvious which website name is the real one. For example, the correct link for Lido is ‘lido.fi,’ and the correct spelling for DefiLlama has only two Ls. Criminals will sometimes use a different domain extension, such as .org instead of .com, or add an extra L to the name.
Links that companies pay for through Google Ads are likely to appear at the top of search results, making it easy for unsuspecting users to click on a fraudulent link.
## What websites are being targeted?
Not even security researchers are always able to detect these scams in time, which means that the actual number of scams could be significantly higher. DefiLlama and Lido are not the only targets – Zapper, Stargate, Orbiter Finance, and Radiant have also been targeted by scammers.
## How does Google contribute to the problem?
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On-chain data shows that around 3,000 people have been affected by the scams mentioned above. The stolen money was deposited into Binance, KuCoin, Simple Swap, and the crypto mixer Tornado Cash. The scammers reportedly pay an average of $1 to $2 per click through Google Ads, resulting in a total cost of around $15,000 per user.
Although Google records who is attempting to advertise, many tech companies do not seem to be concerned about whether or not the advertiser is trying to scam people. Both Apple and Google were criticized by the US government last year for making it too easy for crypto criminals to advertise. Soon after, Meta (formerly Facebook) was also accused of the same problem.
As cryptocurrencies continue to rise in popularity, it is essential that users remain vigilant and take precautions to avoid being scammed. With the help of Google Ads, scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, making it vital to stay informed to protect oneself against crypto scams.