How to Stop Spam from Your Google Calendar
As annoying as Email spams are, Google has made significant measures in trying to filter junk away from our inboxes. As it is now, the spam folders have a different allocation which differs from the real emails. Fortunately, this hinders spam from getting in the way of the real emails that one needs to see.
Even when such milestones are accomplished, scammers are still on the lookout for an open window where they can spam countless users. Android Police reported earlier in June of how scammers are taking advantage of automatic Google Calendar Events to trick them into falling for their phishing traps.
What Is Phishing?
By definition, Phishing is the dishonest attempt to acquire crucial information such as passwords, usernames, login details or credit card details by posing as a trusted source through electronic communication. It is basically a scam where people are fooled into revealing private information that can be used for identity theft.
For instance, while checking your email, you receive an alarming message from your bank stating that your account might have been interfered with. It then provides a link where you enter your private information. Even though the logos appear to be just as identical to the ones from the bank, it wasn’t actually from your bank. Instead, it was sent by cyber-criminals looking to phish you.
The ‘phishing’ concept came from the word ‘fishing’ as it is a representation of the latter. Just as fishermen cast lines with bait attached, these scammers send out official-looking emails hoping that the victim will let their guard down. The fisherman becomes the cyber attacker who tries to reel you in with fake emails.
Even though phishing has been around for more than 20 years, it’s still being used to prey on users who have no knowledge of it. Research has it that the average internet user is usually not aware of phishing until they fall victim of the attack. Fallen victims notice their computers getting compromised, vital information getting stolen, and other system devices getting damaged.
Phishing Spam on Google Calendar
Any organization or individual can be a target of phishing. Over the years, phishers have gained enough knowledge and experience to bring up new ideas to reach as many victims as possible. It’s not necessary for victims to be key employees in an organization. As long as you’re social network user, then you’re at risk.
Quite honestly, phishing has been going on for quite some time now and the people who are aware aren’t falling for it anymore. That is why innovative hackers have thought of something new. This new phishing scam comes in the form of a calendar invite that is automatically added to your calendar agendas. Even if one doesn’t accept the invite, it will still show on your agenda.
What is even scarier is that it will set a reminder that will notify the user before the event happens. This scam has grown popular amongst scammers because they are targeting typical user behavior. If you think about it, you get an invite to your calendar which you can typically accept or leave it there with no problem. It will automatically still be on your calendar.
What’s tricky is that this notification can come on your cell phone, you see it, and get lured to check it out. In case you get a notification that states you have won, received money or have been invited to something that you know you are not invited to, DO NOT click the link in the invitation.
They will try and collect your credit card, bank account, or even your identity. To defend yourself against these types of scams, you should follow these two simple steps:
Delete the Events
Probably the most obvious thing to do is to go to the calendar event and delete the series off the calendar.
To do this on your desktop, right-click or left-click on the event, and on the pop-up menu, click on the trash can and delete all the events on the series.
If you’re accessing the calendar on a mobile device. Navigate to the entry, press and hold, then select delete and choose “all events in series”.
The obvious problem with this particular problem is if you have multiple accounts. And you’re getting a lot of spam. Then going through each and every one of them is going to be tedious and time-consuming.
Adjust Gmail Settings
The other idea is going into the general settings of Gmail and enabling or disabling the specific setting. For this, you will want to do it on a desktop as they are not available on a mobile device.
Start by opening up the Google Calendar and head on the top-right corner where you have the “gear” icon and select “Settings”. This option will load a new page and once there, on the left-hand area, select where it says events settings.
Scroll down the page a bit and select where it says “automatically add invitations” and select it. A menu will open up and select “only show events that I respond to”. All changes will be saved in real-time so that you don’t have to do any extra steps.
Head back over to the left-hand side and select “events from Gmail”. Find the box with the option of unchecking “Auto-add event from Gmail to my calendar”.
The biggest issue with this setting is that. If somebody sends you a calendar invite and you don’t respond to it. It’s not going to automatically put it on your calendar. Which you’d want to use this specific setting at your own user preference.
If you respond to an email such as an RSVP, it will include the calendar invite on your calendar.
One of the recommended settings that you should turn off is the “Show declined events”. What it does is when you decline an event, it could potentially show up on your calendar with a crossed outline behind it which goes in and turns that off.
On the desktop, head on to the gear icon and click on settings. On the left-hand side of the screen, click on “View Options”. Down there you’ll see a little toggle switch that says “show decline invites” and uncheck that.
On your mobile device, open up the Gmail Calendar app. Go to the top-left-hand corner and select the three parallel lines. Scroll down to the bottom and select “Settings” and select “General” from the top. Once there, locate the “Show Declined Events” and toggle the switch to the off position.
These are a few tips that are quick and simple but will prevent the spam from hitting your calendar.