Microsoft, in collaboration with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Western Union, has launched a new feature in the Bing search engine which warns users of online scams. Any time someone searches for financial advice on info like foreclosures, credit repair, or how to transfer money, Bing will display public service announcements along with the traditional search results.
Because financially struggling customers are often hot targets for online scams – especially in a down economy like the one we’re in now – the goal of this new service is to help provide this group with critical information as to how they can stay fraud-free.
The landing pages for the credit repair and mortgage foreclosure PSAs will be hosted by the FTC while the landing page for advance fee fraud (aka “lottery scams”) will be hosted by Microsoft. (Perhaps because one common scam of this sort involves a nonexistent “Microsoft Lottery?”)
Since search companies such as Bing are often involved in a cat-and-mouse game to keep fraudulent listings out of the search results, these PSAs will help educate potential victims of what search results they should be wary of. You should start seeing the PSAs appear now in Bing’s sponsored ads sections. Here’s an example.