As if there weren't enough scam calls...now there's one from "Google," too.
Wait a second. Aren't we supposed to love and trust Google to the ends of the earth? In a perfect world free of robo-calls and scammers, yes! But in today's over-saturated world of telemarketers and people trying to scam you, you're out of luck. Ideally, the calls you receive from your Google My Business listing are customers who are genuinely interested in your business or service. But alas, that is not the modern (and tricky) world we live in. If the title of this article caught your attention, you've probably experienced calls from suspicious (and annoying!) people and businesses that claim to be working “with” or “for” Google. You are not alone. Thousands and thousands of people who use Google My Business have received these scam calls only to find a person on the other end of the line attempting to sell a service or request a payment for things that, in fact, Google does for free.
Sick and tired of it? Ditto! Here's the good news: in this article, we’re going to expose these calls for what they are: empty claims. We'll help you identify legitimate listing calls so that you can carry on with business as usual. Pesky interruptions not welcome!
How Do I Know When Google My Business Listing Calls Are REAL?
Before we go over Google My Business call scams, let’s talk about the scenarios in which Google My Business will call you FOR REAL.
1. Business Listing Phone Verification
Verifying your business on Google can be a pain. Depending on the type of business you have, it may or may not qualify for Google’s phone verification process. If it does, this is one of the most common reasons Google will be contacting your business directly. The verification will only take place if you have given your permission. This mean you will know when to expect it. During the verification call, Google won’t ask you for any personal or business-related information. All they'll do is give you a unique code to enter when your screen prompts you for verification.
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2. Non-Sales Tasks
Another reason Google typically contacts your business directly is to do some fact checking. This is done as a service to search engine users who may be searching for your business or businesses like yours. These automated calls are strictly for non-sales purposes. For example, a restaurant may be called to verify their business hours and to see if they take reservations via the phone. Take note: these verification calls are only made to businesses that list their phone number publicly. If you don't have your business number listed and still receive one of these calls, you'll know it's a scam and it's time to hang up!
3. Customer Service & Account Support
The last reason for Google to call your business would be for some customer service or account support-related issue. These calls are typically made in reference to a Google My Business, Google Ads, or Google Play account for which you've submitted an error report or help ticket. During these types of calls, you’ll be speaking directly with a Google operator that will identify themselves as just that - a Google operator. This is for authentication purposes. They will never ask for payment information or offer any kind of performance guarantee for business listings and Google Ads accounts so, if that happens, beware!
What is the Google My Business Call Scam?
It's sad, but there are so many people and “businesses” out there with less than pure intentions that try and often succeed in scamming Google My Business listing owners with fraudulent calls. Take a close look at some of the most prevalent Google My Business call scams below and keep these in mind when you pick up the phone!
“Hi, this is XYZ from Google.”
If you’ve received a call that starts like this (or something similar), you're most likely hearing from a scammer. These calls come from sketchy third-party entities and their goal is to convince you to sign up and pay for services that are already available to you (for free!) or that simply do not exist.
Google is not only a household name, but it's also a trusted name. The term "Google it" is tossed around constantly. So, by claiming to be calling on behalf of Google, these scammers are looking to capitalize on your trust of the conglomerate. After they think they've hooked you (because you believe it's a legit call!), they'll usually try to entice you even more by promising they'll increase your online search rankings and maybe even offer add-on or optimization services...for a fee, of course.
Not ok! Because as we said above...the majority of the services these third-party companies are peddling are already offered to Google My Business listing owners at no cost.
Threatening to Remove Your Listing
Another common scam going around is threatening to remove your company’s listing from Google Search and Map results if you don’t pay for the renewal fee. A renewal fee that doesn't exist, mind you!
How to Weed Out the Fake Google Calls from the Real Ones
We know. There are so many different methods of scamming Google My Business customers on the phone. This is disheartening, but we’ve come up with a few tips to help you identify the scammer - if they dare call you!
1. Google Employee Verification
The most fool-proof way to pinpoint a Google My Business scam call is by asking the caller to verify their identity. Any employee who is actually calling from Google will have no problem with providing you with a verification email from an @google.com email account. If they try to skirt the subject or give you any form of identification that is not related to google.com, the call is most likely a scam and this is when they should hear a dial tone on your end.
2. Google Will Never Ask for Personal Information
Another easy way to tell that you’re dealing with a pesky scammer is personal questions. If they ask you for ANY type of personal information such as your password, verification code, security question, payment information, etc., this is a tell-tale sign that you're not dealing with a legitimate Google employee.
3. Google Will Not Try to Sell You on a Service
As we have said a couple times, Google will never try to sell you on services such as account management, search engine boosts, or the removal of bad reviews. Google doesn’t work with any third-party companies, so if you do receive this type of phone call, you can be sure that someone is trying to scam you.
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