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Chrome adds new security features to stop mobile subscription scams


Google today announced that Chrome will soon get a new feature that aims to stop mobile subscription scams. Those are the kind of sites that ask you for your phone number and that then, unbeknownst to you, sign you up for a mobile subscription thats billed through your carrier. Starting with the launch of Chrome 71 in December, Google will pop up a prominent warning when a site doesnt make it clear that users are signing up for a mobile subscription. To make sure that developers who are legitimately using this flow to offer users a subscription dont get caught up in this new system, Google also published a set of best practices for mobile billing today. Generally, developers are expected to make their billing information visible and obvious to users, display the actual cost and have a simple and straightforward fee structure. If that information is not available, Google will throw up a prominent full-page warning, but users can always opt to proceed. Before throwing up the warning page, Google will notify webmasters in the Search Console when it detects a potential scam (theres always a chance for false positives, after all). This new feature will be available on both mobile and desktop, as well as in Androids WebView.

Chrome will start warning users if a site might unexpectedly bill them


Starting with the release of Chrome 71 in December, your browser will warn you about sites that might try and bill you without your full knowledge or consent. Specifically, the measures are targeting mobile billing services, where little more than your phone number is needed to place additional charges on your monthly bill. According to Google, millions of Chrome users encounter pages with unclear or insufficient mobile subscription information every month. In order to not get flagged, sites will have to make sure theyre being upfront about any charges that may hit Chrome users. That means making billing information obvious, not trying to obscure it by placing gray text on a white background, for example, and not using a fee structure that obscures the true cost. Chrome 71 users will receive a warning when visiting unclear billing pages on sites that dont comply. These all seem like sensible, common sense measures. Combined with Chrome 71s stricter handling of abusive ads they should make the web a more pleasant and safe place to browse.