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Google My Business Scam

An automated call from what appears to be Google My Business. Is the call real or just another scam? Your phone rings and it is a “weird” looking number. You debate whether you should answer it or not.

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS IS THAT CALL REAL OR JUST ANOTHER SCAM!

Google My Business.  Is that call real or just another scam?

An automated call from what appears to be Google My Business. Is the call real or just another scam?

Your phone rings and it is a “weird” looking number. You debate whether you should answer it or not.

After all, you’ve had similar calls that you’ve let go through to your voicemail and you are concerned that the call might really be from Google and that there really is something wrong with your listing.

Your Google My Business listing is a valuable marketing tool for your business. It is what makes your business show under the map for local businesses that sell the products or services you sell. No way can you afford for it not to be displaying properly, or worse, have Google take your listing down!

Continue reading to learn how you can determine whether that call from Google My Business is real or just another scam.

CONGRATULATIONS!

You’ve made a Google My Business account and put in the work of entering all of your company information. When people search for products you sell or services you offer your business listing shows up under the Google Map for local businesses right up there near the top of the search listings when the searcher is in your area. Congratulations! You did a great job!

ANNOYING PHONE CALLS

Then… The phone keeps ringing with calls that are not from potential customers or clients. It is usually an automated phone call asking you to press 1 to update your Google business listing. There are many different variations of this call, but the bottom line is usually something about your business not being verified or that your listing is not displaying properly. Typically the calls will sound like they are either from Google employee or someone representing Google.

ARE THESE CALLS LEGITIMATE OR SCAM?

The short answer is yes! Calls that appear to be from Google My Business are actually scam calls.

WHAT DO THEY WANT?

The caller wants to sell you services that they offer. Most are already available free of charge by Google or do not exist. They will charge hundreds of dollars or monthly fees for these services. They will try and convince you that you really need their services. There is no way to even know if they are just looking for credit card information that they can abuse.

ARE THERE ANY LEGITIMATE CALLS FROM GOOGLE?

Actually, the answer to that is yes, but how do you know if it is really Google? The answer to that is simple and straightforward once you know how Google does business… Google will not initiate a phone call to you without your permission. Here are some scenarios of when you could receive a call from Google:

  • Business Listing Verification: If your business is eligible to be verified over the phone, you would click on a verification link in your account and Google will call the business number you have listed on your account with a verification number. You write that number down and input it into a popup on your screen. Since you initiated the verification process yourself you will be expecting this call within just a minute or two of when you initiated the verification process.
  • Google My Business Support: Again, you would have initiated this non-sales contact by contacting Google My Business yourself because you have a problem or question about your account. This might be about your Google My Business, Google Ads, or Google Play account. As with all calls from Google, you would have initiated this call by submitting a ticket. The operator will always identify themselves before starting verification, and they will never ask for payment or issue performance guarantees.
  • Fact-Checking: You may receive a call checking facts about your business. It would usually be to check your opening hours or services. They will not ask for personal information or try and sell you something.

RED FLAGS

Here is a list of some of the things to watch for to determine if this call is real or just another scam.

  • call starts with “Hello, I’m calling on behalf of Google.” Google does not hire 3rd party organizations.
  • The caller threatens to remove your listing.
  • They want to charge you for their services.
  • They ask for payment or personal information.
  • When you ask for verification of who they are they are unable to or they will try and trick you by giving you a phony ID number. Ask them to send you a verification email. If this call is real and not just another scam then the email will come from an address that includes @google.com.

MY OWN EXPERIENCE

A few days ago, I got yet another call indicating that my Google listing was not displaying properly. The call started with “Please don’t hang up. We have tried contacting you numerous times. There is a problem with your Google My Business listing.

They did not say in the automated message what the business name was. I was getting really tired of the calls and decided that this time I would talk to an agent.

What was interesting is that the name of the business was actually one belonging to a client and not my business. The red flag there was that they called my business phone number instead of the one listed for my client’s business.

The caller indicated that the business was not properly verified. I knew it was verified because the account shows as verified when I access it. When I indicated that I knew it was verified because I had gone through the process they tried a new tactic.

This time, they tried to tell me that my listing was not displaying correctly and asked if I was aware of that. My response was “Give me a second, I want to take a look.” Next, they asked if I was familiar with Google My Business and how it worked. I replied that I was and that I had several businesses that I looked after. At this point they abruptly hung up on me.

Now, my suspicions were high that this was not Google but a scam of some kind. I decided to do a bit of research to confirm my suspicion that someone was trying to scam me.

CONCLUSION

The conclusion I reached was that it most certainly was. I do a lot of work with Google My Business for clients but know that there are many small business owners who look after this valuable tool on their own that may not know what I had discovered. That’s what triggered my decision to write this article and hopefully stop other businesses from buying in to the scam or at least the knowledge that is is safe to block any of the numbers that these calls come from.

It is not Google and your Google My Business listing is just fine.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR BUSINESS LISTING?

If you have not already created a My Google Business account or are having trouble with the configuration or verification there is help out there.

There are organizations that offer to help you improve your Google listing. They will charge you a fee with the promise of improved Google performance. If you are a small business this may not fit your budget and that is where I can help.

WHAT SERVICE DOES MTECH SERVICES OFFER FOR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS?

MTech Services offers the actual account creation and configuration. I will do this for you for a low price of $35 ($25 with the purchase of a website plan).

I do not make guarantees as to how well your listing will do in Google because there are just too many variables to determine how well your listing will do. For example, some organizations pay for Google Ads to get their listing to the top of the first page. Another variable is how unique your business is locally or how large of an area your business is located in.

My business is located in Napanee which is a small town so with the correct configuration of Google My Business I am right up at the top of the map when someone Googles website design Napanee or just website design if they are located in the Napanee area. However, if my business was located in Toronto, I would be competing with a large number of website design companies including large ones that can afford to pay for Ads to get their listing higher.

What I can guarantee is that if your business does not “Google” you are likely losing potential clients and sales. The service I offer will make sure that when people search Google looking for products or services that you sell that they will find your business under the Google Map which is high on the first search page if they are local to your business.

Contact

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me. An initial consultation is free. You can book a consultation appointment by completing the contact form or clicking on the Book Now button on my Facebook Page for MTech Services.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope that it will help you to determine whether or not the call you are receiving from Google My Business is real or just another scam.

Marie Perry, owner of MTech Services