Cheap, unlimited Google Drive accounts prove to be a scam

By Luu Quy   April 28, 2020 | 04:30 am PT
Cheap, unlimited Google Drive accounts prove to be a scam
A man accessing Google Drive via smartphone and laptop. Photo by Shutterstock/Nopparat Khokthong.
Tricksters are scamming netizens by selling fake unlimited Google Drive accounts for VND300,000 ($13) via shady online marketplaces.

Google charges users between VND45,000-6.75 million ($1.9-287) per month depending on the storage package they had registered. The highest storage package that Google offers to individual users in Vietnam is up to 30TB that they can purchase monthly or yearly.

But recently, a series of Facebook fan pages featuring Google Drive logos advertised the same services at a lower price.

Sellers stated to be "Google agents", which allows them unlimited accounts at a cheaper price, adding they "have met Google's strict policy conditions."

For the VND300,000 ($13) package, existing Google Drive accounts are upgraded to feature more storage capacity and cannot be shared.

As for the VND700,000 ($30) package, users are given a new account with email domain name (not by the provider. According to advertisements, the security of this package is higher while it can be synchronized between multiple devices and shared with friends.

Some sellers also provide a VND2 million ($85) package that allows buyers to name their own Google Drive account at will.

Customers only need to pay once for all three packages. Since prices are much lower, these sites have been attracting thousands of comments from curious customers.

However, some who have bought and used these accounts said the services are not as advertised.

The Hoang, a customer who bought a fake Google Drive account, said: "With the VND300,000 package, the email of the buyer will be added to a group with other accounts using the same Google Drive account, rather than upgrading current storage capacity."

Scammers take advantage of the Team Drive feature in Google's premium G Suite package. This feature allows people in a group to upload and share files with others.

"Since it is a shared storage service, other people can also access your files," Hoang confirmed.

In addition, if someone in the group uploads content that violates Google regulations, the company will delete the account and other members will lose their files.

Nguyen Kiet, an administrator of an information technology forum, said: "Google Drive is unlimited for businesses since they spend a lot of money to buy this service. But Google offers the same package to educational institutions."

Kiet said most of storage packages sold in Vietnam are for educational institutions.

For the VND700,000 package, sellers often use tricks to bypass Google by creating fake school emails using domain name ".edu".

Nguyen Manh Hung, an IT expert, said: "It is possible that sellers are the domain administrator of a school since they can create emails using ".edu". Therefore, most accounts of this type only last about three to five years. Or it can be deleted if Google detects the account is fake."

Kiet and Hung themselves have lost thousands of gigabytes of data after purchasing these fake accounts.

Buying and selling unlimited Google Drive accounts has occurred in Vietnam for many years, but Google has not issued any warnings to users.

Kiet also urged customers to not buy such Google Drive accounts to avoid being cheated and losing data. In addition, using a "pirated" Google Drive will not be supported by Google in case of problems.

Sellers can also use their administrative rights to access user data and even remove users from accounts.

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