So today when I went to unlock my phone, I found a strange message on the home screen. “Congratulations! You have been chosen to be the winner of a new iPhone Xs. http://tich.gq/XXX….XXXX”
After seeing this message was tied to my Google Calendar, I immediately removed the spunky little spam message from my phone. When deleting the calendar item, it even asked if I wanted to “delete all events?” The reason being is this event was on my calendar everyday going forward. Sneaky… sneaky…
So, you must wonder, did my account get hacked or was there something else going on? After a bit of research, I found that since June there has been an uptick in this sort of shenanigans. Users on Google having been complaining of this issue with the last number being around 274 just in one of many forum articles. Fortunately there is a fix to this issue and we will go over it here.
First get rid of the offending message and delete the event from your calendar. When it asks to “delete all events”, check the “All events” and not the “This event” option. This way you will not keep seeing the same message every day.
Next you should look at your settings to make sure this doesn’t happen again. You will want to disable creating Events from Gmail automatically. This prevents messages from automatically creating an unwanted calendar event which occurs when your Calendar, any apps and devices sync with your Google account.
According to Google KB:
“When you get an email about an event like a flight, concert, or restaurant reservation, it’s added to your calendar automatically. If you don’t want events from Gmail on your calendar, you can delete a single event, or change your settings so that events aren’t added automatically.”
To do this you, depending on your device, will click the gear icon and uncheck the ‘Events from Gmail’ box.
Then for good measure you will want to be selective, going forward, who you and your calendar get invites from. Be it a person or app you have previously given permission to access your Google account. The wired advises:
“Open Google Calendar’s settings on a desktop browser and go to Event Settings > Automatically Add Invitations, and then select the option ‘No, only show invitations to which I’ve responded.’ Also, under View Options, make sure that ‘Show declined events’ is unchecked, so malicious events don’t haunt you even after you decline them.”
The message below is what you can potentially see when you open your phone or calendar app. Be safe and don’t open this sort of malicious item. If you didn’t enter a contest then be wise and know that you didn’t just magically win anything. Especially if it just appears on your calendar.
✔ Notification №6538 CONGRATULATIONS!
Thursday, August 22⋅7:52–9:12am
Daily, 7 times
Your e-mail address is the winner of our annual competition! Your prize is a iPhone Xs. Follow the instructions on the website to get it. http://tich.gq/XXX*****XXXX