Online phishers are hoping to lure unsuspecting Gmail users into handing over personal information by convincing them that their email accounts are about to be deactivated.
Spotted by the security firm Sophos, the phishing emails are titled "De-Activation Alert!" and inform recipients Google "will be shutting down all unused accounts," on June 30. The email instructs users to "re-confirm your account as soon as possible" to prevent it from being deleted.
Phishing scams like this are not uncommon, but the method of attack is clever enough that it may successfully work.
The link included in the Gmail message takes users to a spreadsheet called "Google account verification form" located in Google Docs.
By virtue of its location, the spreadsheet appears legitimate — at least at first glance.
In a Sophos blog posting, senior technology consultant Graham Cluley wrote that the scammers are hosting their phishing page in Google Docs because "they hope that potential victims will believe it's a genuine Google resource," and because "rudimentary security software won't feel comfortable blocking the entire google.com domain."
If you receive an unsolicited message from Google — or any website — that asks you to enter personal information in order to "verify" your account, ignore it.