RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Google+ is the hot, new thing in social media. It is the best of the search engine combined with many features you'd find on Facebook. Like any new trend, hackers are already preying on people trying to sign up.
Google+ hasn't even been out for a month and it's the invitation everyone wants. With fake invites invading inboxes, this is a new type of scam, which plays on one of the oldest feelings--the need to fit in.
It's safe to say Arthur Baynes is obsessed with Google+.
"I love Google so much that I had been waiting for this," he said. "I knew it was coming."
He's not the only one.
"It's heaven for people who like Google."
The search engine is branching out. It created a social media site with "plus one's" and "circles" instead of "friends" and "groups." Unlike Facebook, not just anyone can join. You have to be invited. The excitement of finally seeing that subject line in your inbox, may temporarily blind you and cause you to forget your Internet safety rules.
"It's kind of like that exclusive club and you know there's a line outside," Baynes explained. "So if someone says 'hey I can get you in and you can skip the line' you're going to look over a few things, a few details."
The hype surrounding the site's debut is much like major tech roll outs we've seen in the past. It comes with risks.
The first scam we uncovered sends eager Google+ wannabes a fake invitation. Following the link sends you to a pharmaceutical company website selling penis enlargement drugs.
"That's a different kind of plus," Baynes joked.
Some fake invites ask you to verify your personal information, while yet another con promises to give you access to Google+ through Facebook. The Better Business Bureau said those tricks can lead to huge problems.
"All it takes is your name, your address and your birthday and a criminal can do just about anything he wants to your identity," said Barbara Homiller.
If you do get an invite, check the name. See if it came from someone you actually know. It's also a good idea to confirm that person sent it. As always, if you think you're at risk, change your password immediately.