Google’s forthcoming Chrome 71 update will dish out warnings to web users when it appears they may be fooled into signing up for dodgy text subscription services.
The company will warn users “the page ahead may try to charge you money” when sites request phone numbers from visitors, prior to them being able to access content. In these instances, Google will tell users “these charges could be one-time or recurring and may not be obvious. If you don’t want this, go back.”
The new feature could prevent users being tricked into agreeing to receive premium text services that ding user’s mobile accounts every time a message comes their way. The firm says (via Engadget) millions of people are tricked into signing up for these servers, and many aren’t even aware of it.
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Websites will have an opportunity to avoid warnings being served to their visitors by complying with Google’s new protocol. The company is asking purveyors of mobile sites to clearly display whether/how much users will be charged if they enter their mobile number.
If the pages are clear in this manner, Google will not display the warning. Webmasters will also be given notice by Google before the warnings come into play, allowing them to clean up their act. Otherwise, they’ll be treated as a malicious site by Google, from Chrome 71 onwards, which is expected to roll out in December.
The new version of the browser will also broaden Google’s crackdown on deceptive ads. Google says it is fighting back against naughty ads that redirect users to new tabs and windows, when they attempt to close them. Ads that show fake play buttons, system messages or phish for personal information are on the hit list.
The company says its current measures aren’t doing the job, and it hopes the threat of a blanket ban on all ads for sites that regularly show this kind of content will discourage offenders. Websites will have a 30-day grace period to get rid of the abusive advertisements, but a failure to comply will see all ads disabled, potentially cutting off the revenue supply for websites in question.
Have you fallen for one of the premium text scams? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.