Protect Yourself from Google Business Scams
The rising epidemic of never-ending aggressive robocalls has many business owners extremely frustrated. One of the more annoying robocall scams is where the caller claims to be from Google or some sort of “certified partner”, and that your Google Business listing is somehow in jeopardy. Some businesses are excessively harassed several times a day by this type of scam.
While providing professional services to help businesses claim, optimize, or manage their listings is a legitimate service, the tactics these scammers use is what makes them unethical due to their misrepresentation of their identity and false claims.
Aside from claiming to be Google, here are a few other common unethical tactics, claims, and offers they may use:
- Claim to be a “Google Certified Partner” but will not provide a company name, call back number, address, or other verifiable contact information.
- Claim to be a “Certified Google My Business Partner”. This does not exist.
- Claim to be a “Google Certified Manager” that will get you on the first page of search results.
- Pretend to “look up” your business listing and that all of your competitors are coming up but not you.
- Claim that your business listing is only temporary and/or has been flagged for removal.
- Claim that your business is next in line to be the “Top 3 on Google Maps”.
- You must pay a “lifetime fee” of $359 (discounted from $599!) to verify your listing or to keep it online.
- You need to give them your secret PIN from your Business Listing postcard you received from Google.
- Will use fake caller-id to appear that they are local or to randomize their phone number.
GOOGLE IS NOT CALLING YOU
The person on the other end of the phone is definitely not working at Google. Here are a few examples of what Google does not do:
- Call businesses with unsolicited and costly offers for services that are essentially free.
- Charge businesses to be added to Google My Business, Google Search, or Google Maps.
- Threaten to remove your Google My Business page.
- Offer to improve your search ranking or manage your profile for a price.
Google has a detailed page on current scams that they are monitoring, including telemarketing robo-calls.
What Can You Do?
Unfortunately there is no easy and quick solution to stop these calls. Asking to be removed from their call list is typically ignored and the calls continue. Here are a few things that businesses can do:
Report Them to Google
Google has launched an online tool to easily report third-parties that are running this type of scam. Use this Google form to report the robo-callers. Google and the FTC has filed lawsuits against multiple robo-callers. You can help provide valuable information to hold those companies accountable.
Join the National Do Not Call List
Add your business to the National Do Not Call List. All legitimate telemarketing companies (should) remove your number from their calling list. If they continue to call, you can file an online complaint with the FTC. This may not actually stop the calls as the majority of robo-call scammers deliberately hide their numbers and identities, however it is a useful tool to notify the FTC of these calls.
Warn Other Businesses
Scammers continue to operate because a large number of businesses are unaware of their tactics and what to watch out for. Share this article with other business owners or your local business networks. Take a few minutes to warn them of this scam and what they can do to help. If you are able to identify where the scammers are operating from, consider filing a complaint with business agencies in their city or county.
Google is now going after these shady telemarketing companies. Try to get as much information as possible (phone numbers, email addresses, website links, where they are located, etc.) and report them to Google using this online form.