In 2017, I made a Google Cloud Account to use Google Maps API for a Computer Science student group project and put my debit card in. I naively put a $5 account notification in, thinking it was a cap. This project was defunct after 2017 and I should have just closed the Cloud account.
All was fine up until January 2019 when the Google Cloud Credentials were somehow stolen and over the course of two days on Google Maps API, racked up enough API calls to generate over $14k invoice. I disabled the Google Cloud Account a day after I noticed an email from Google Cloud. Google Cloud did try to use debit card to deduct from checking account, but I don't leave thousands sitting around in it, so charge was declined.
I talked to Google Cloud Billing and they have not been helpful, telling me to contact my bank. Today, I got a scary email from a collections agency demanding I login to my Google Cloud account and pay the bill! Worst part is, this API used to be free, until Google started charging exorbitant amounts for it.
I know I did not make these API calls -- if you looked at the call volume history, there was nothing for well over a year, until those two days in 2019, it started going crazy (and the project is not running on any server or being used in any way). I suspect a group member might have accidentally leaked the credentials.
I know AWS has waived costs like this in the past, but Google is not known for customer support. I should have been more proactive in setting up a cap.
Appreciate any advice or Google contacts to talk to an actual human. Should I see if Google is willing to actually verify this was unauthorized usage or just lower the bill? I'll eat a few thousand just to make this go away.
To say GCP has left a sour taste in my mouth is an understatement!
Thanks for reading.