Millions of people turn to Google every day to find the best broadband deals, and overall the deals are there to be found.
But a disturbing report (opens in a new tab) from which? claimed that something darker was going on with Google ads for broadband.
According to the watchdog, many Google ads point to a sleazy Cyprus-based broker called Supanet, which could cause serious harm to buyers.
Generally speaking, these adverts – which often appear before Sky, BT and TalkTalk results – ask the user to call a specific number. The ads appear to be from two companies: Broadband Services and Phone Internet.
None of these companies appear on Companies House, the UK’s mandatory business register, and appear to be linked to Supanet.
Who? called the mystery numbers and was put through to Comms Broker, who is also not registered with the company. Each time, the person on the phone tried to sell a Supanet broadband package.
A tangled web
The investigation was unable to definitively link Supanet and Comms Broker, but they do share some similarities. Comms Broker, for example, exclusively sells Supanet packages.
For its part, Google said, “We don’t allow ads or destinations that mislead users by excluding relevant product information or providing misleading information about products, services, or companies. When we find ads that violate our policies, we take action to remove them. “
Google has also confirmed that it has removed the adverts featured by Which? in their report.
Unfortunately, scams are everywhere and broadband offers are fertile ground.
Tech Radar recommends sticking with trusted, well-known brands – Virgin, TalkTalk, Sky, etc. – and to help anyone who may be vulnerable to these scams, such as the elderly, in their search.