It’s estimated that around 84% of small businesses receive robocalls daily. Most business owners are completely over dealing with robocalls and solicitation calls.
However, if you receive a call where someone claims your Google My Business (GMB) listing isn’t claimed, you may believe it. After all, you know how important Google is to search results, and GMB plays a huge role in if your business appears in SERPs (search engine results pages).
What you may not realize is that a large percentage (in fact, nearly 100% of them) are Google My Business scams.
If you receive a call where someone claims they can help you get established on GMB – for a fee – hanging up is the best option.
Today, scams and scammers are everywhere. For most people, it’s no surprise that Google has been targeted, too. However, you can avoid being a victim of GMB scams by learning more about them. Remember, knowledge is power, and the right knowledge will help you avoid putting your business website and information at risk or in the hands of a nefarious individual.
Getting to Know Google My Business
The short definition of Google My Business is that it’s a directory of businesses you can sign up for. Not only can you sign up for it (for free), you should.
Chances are you have searched for a business on Google before. You know, when you do this, Google presents all the information for it at the top of SERPs. Usually, you can see the business’s address, website, phone number, photos, hours of operation, special offers, and customer reviews.
All this is right there, on the first page of SERPs, because the business owner signed up for GMB.
At Small Business SEO, we believe that claiming your Google My Business is one of the smartest things you can do. It’s an “in” with the biggest search engine in the world – why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?
You can look at signing up for GMB as being a part of an online phone book (if you know what that is). You want to ensure your information is listed in the phone book, right?
While you may believe that all the information found on GMB is already on your website (which searchers can locate through a quick Google search), when you sign up for GMB, it makes the information easy to find without having to make additional clicks.
Also, with a Google My Business listing, your business will appear in SERPs even if a searcher doesn’t type in your specific business name. For example, if someone is searching for a pizza restaurant, and that’s what you offer, your business can appear in the SERPs for the “general search.” This is true for all types and categories of businesses in the searcher’s zip code. If you don’t create a GMB listing, you are missing out on essentially free traffic.
Creating a Google listing for your business or modifying the one there is free. It’s also simple to do. You should investigate this if you haven’t yet.
Robocalls and GMB
Some business owners are alarmed when they receive a robocall (or a call with a real person) claiming their Google listing isn’t complete or may be removed.
In some situations, the person calling will claim you have your business on GMB, but there’s an “emergency” problem with the information or that it’s not showing up in SERPs when someone searches for it.
If you “bite,” the caller will then let you know they can fix the issue. However, before fixing the supposed problem, they require you to pay them a fee or provide them with information – like your password.
In many cases, the caller won’t claim to be a Google employee. They will likely state they are an affiliate that has been contracted or hired by Google to make these calls.
As stated above, and what will likely be stated several more times, this call is most likely a SCAM!
You need to avoid being a victim of these scam calls. In most cases, your Google listing is just fine. Also, if there is a problem, it will not be something the person calling you can (or will) fix for you.
Tips for Identifying Google My Business Scam Calls
If you aren’t familiar with Google or how everything works, you may not know that Google My Business scammers are trying to steal your information or get you to send them payments for nothing.
For these situations, it’s smart to learn what to look for when it comes to fake calls. Knowing how to identify these will help you avoid being a victim.
One of the first things to remember is that setting up, updating, and maintaining your GMB listing is all free. You can edit your information for free, respond to customer reviews, and add photos. If someone calls claiming that you must pay to maintain or update your page, they are 100% a scammer.
If you are still unsure if the person on the phone is a real representative from Google, you can request employee verification. All Google representatives can verify. If they can’t do this, you are not talking to someone from Google.
Another indication that the person on the phone is a Google My Business scammer is if they request personal information. A true representative from Google will not ask you for payment information, verification codes, or passwords.
Google never hires contractors to work with customers. All customer care is handled in-house. If you talk to someone who claims to be calling “on behalf of,” “for,” or “with” Google, it means they are a third-party vendor. It also means they are not a Google representative.
Google Doesn’t Call You About GMB Listings
It’s important to realize that Google doesn’t make calls about GMB listings. If someone calls you, claims they are from Google or affiliated with Google, and wants to “help” with your GMB listing, you can feel 100% confident they are trying to scam you.
Google will call you if they need confirmation or verification of your business details. Google may also make calls regarding your Google Ads account, Google Play account, or other products it provides. However, if this happens, they will be from a real person, not a robocall.
Tips for Handling Google My Business Scams
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do regarding receiving these Google My Business scam calls. If you receive one, just hang up – this is the best option. If you don’t talk to the scammers, there’s nothing they can do.
In the past five years, Google has received thousands of complaints about these robocalls. Even though the company knows about the issue, it’s impossible to press charges since most of the numbers being used can’t be traced.
In 2016, there was a situation where Google took action against an SEO company and got them to stop making these calls.
If you receive spam calls like this, you can (and should) report it to Google by contacting the support team.
It’s also possible to register your business phone number, so it is removed from the list of soliciting and robocalls. This can be done by visiting the government’s Do Not Call site. It is important to note that when you register your number with the Federal Trade Commission, it will only be able to block the calls that originate from U.S.-based call centers. Many robocall centers are outside the country and therefore don’t have to abide by these laws.
How to Contact Touch with Google
You should contact Google if you have a question or want to make sure you are not being scammed. You can do this in several ways, but one of the most straightforward options is to call.
The number to speak to a representative about your Google My Business account is 1-844-491-9665. Google is open from 9 AM to 6 PM eastern time, Monday through Friday.
Remember, there may be a wait to speak to a real person. While Google works to keep wait times low, they receive thousands of contact requests (or more) each day. Because of this, it’s best to be patient.
At Small Business SEO, We Can Help with Your SEO and GMB Listing
Are you ready to optimize your website and avoid scams and nefarious individuals? If so, our team at Small Business SEO is ready to help. We understand that calls from people claiming to be “with” Google can be confusing and frustrating. Not only can we help you avoid these scams, but we will also ensure that your site and GMB listing is optimized and that you are showing up for the searches you should.
The first step is to contact our team and schedule an initial consultation. We can review your existing SEO strategy and help you improve your efforts to propel your business in SERPs. Call today to learn more about the services we offer.