Millions of people turn to Google to find the best broadband deals everyday and, by and large, the deals are there to be found.
But a worrying report (opens in new tab) from Which? has claimed something shadier is going on with Google ads for broadband services.
According to the watchdog, numerous Google ads are pointing towards a shady Cyprus-based broker called Supanet which could be causing serious harm to shoppers.
Broadly speaking, these ads – which often appear ahead of results for Sky, BT, and TalkTalk – ask the user to call a specific number. The ads appear to be from two companies: Broadband Services and Phone Internet.
Neither of these companies appear on Companies House, the compulsory register of business activity in the UK, and appear to be linked in Supanet.
Which? called up the mysterious numbers and was put in touch with Comms Broker, which also isn’t registered with companies house. On each occasion, the person on the end of the phone tried to sell a broadband package from Supanet.
A tangled web
The investigation wasn’t able to definitively link Supanet and Comms Broker, but they share some similarities. Comms Broker, for example, exclusively sells Supanet packages.
For its part, Google said: “We don’t allow ads or destinations that deceive users by excluding relevant product information or providing misleading information about products, services or businesses. Where we find ads that breach our policies we take action to remove them.”
Google also confirmed that it had removed ads highlighted by Which? in their report.
Unfortunately, scams are everywhere and broadband deals are fertile ground.
TechRadar recommends sticking to trusted and known brands – Virgin, TalkTalk, Sky, and so on – and helping anyone who might be vulnerable to these scams, such as elderly people, with their searching.