May 28 (UPI) -- Google announced a new program Thursday to shield users from coronavirus-related scams, which often come in the form of phishing attacks aimed at thieving critical personal information.
The tech giant said its Cybercrime Support Network helped create the Scam Spotter, which recommends that users go through a three-step process before submitting personal information online.
Google said high-pressure phone calls or enticing messages can sway otherwise reasonable users in a vulnerable moment, and warned they should look at such information with a more critical eye.
"As the record-high scam reports keep coming, we're providing support to the Cybercrime Support Network to help people identify scams before they fall victim to them through a new program called Scam Spotter," Vint Cerf, Google's vice president and chief Internet evangelist, said.
The Federal Trade Commission said coronavirus scammers have taken more than $40 million from users through a variety of methods, such as travel offers, online shopping, text messages and information services.
"Just because COVID-19 has disrupted everyone's life, it doesn't mean the scammers have taken a break," Cerf said. "In fact, scammers have exploited the pandemic with alarming speed, taking advantage of fear and uncertainty."
Recent have come from India-based "hack-for-hire" groups that pose as the World Health Organization and targets health and financial services groups in the United States, Canada and Britain.
Google said 18 million coronavirus-related malware and phishing emails were sent every day through its service in April alone.