Unfortunately, there are many scams affecting Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business Listings), so I created this page to inform business owners of the current scams and to protect their business profiles, consequently, their business.
Google Business Profile Scams List
- SMS Scam
- Google Update Company Call Scam
- Money to Claim the Business Profile Scam
- Google Reviews New Scam – Pay to remove
- Requesting ownership of a Google Business Profile Scam
- Google Business Messaging being attacked by Spam/Scams
For additional Scam Alerts check GBPedia.
SMS Scam affecting Google Business Profile Owners
In the Google Business Profile Help Community Forum a few people reported receiving an SMS message (number used +1(626)605-3635) similar to this:
“Google has detected number used for Name of the Business is a cell number. Under updated policy, cell numbers used for GMB listings must opt in to receive SMS from customers or else the mobile number will be removed from the listing within 30 days. Do you want to continue to use your cell number for your business?“
Beware the sender is not Google and you should disregard the message.
Google Business Profile Scam from “Google Update Company”/”MSN Group”
Business owners receive a call from a company called “Google Update Company” or “MSN Group”, telling that your profile is not verified because it still shows “Suggest edit” or “Own this business”.
The “Own this business” and “suggest edit” will always appear, it’s normal and is working as intended by Google!
Also, they said there is supposed to be a check box at the bottom of the profile showing that it is verified… again not true.
Another version of the scam call, they may say your profile needs to be updated. However, you can do it yourself so Google will not call to do it for you, for sure.
Tip: Monitor your Google Business Profile closer ( just a quick glance at your profile twice a day) in the next few days as they may try to “suggest edit” information on Google Maps, normally these suggest edits don’t stick but if it does you can change quickly back. Also do not engage with them as engagement only makes them try harder…
The so-called “Google Update Company”/”MSN Group” are fraudsters, if you receive those calls dismiss them!
Claim/Verify the Google Business Profile Scam
A few users are reporting receiving calls proclaiming to be Google or Google Maps and asking for a fee to claim or verify your business listing. The latest, the scammers were asking 400 or 250 dollars.
This is a scam as Google Business Profile is free to use and you claim your profile for free.
Also, Google never calls asking for payments or bank details!
Beware this is not Google and you should disregard the message.
If you received any dubious calls, SMS or emails, please check this Google Business Profile page for more information: https://support.google.com/business/answer/6212928?hl=en
Google Reviews New Scam – Pay to Remove Reviews
CBC investigation came across different types of issues with Google Reviews from buying fake good reviews (old news…) to a new type of scam, where a “Review Removal Company” contacts you shortly after you have received one or more bad reviews.
The screenshot below shows the typical email from such a company, shortly after a one-star review was posted.
Of course, the company offered to remove the review, for a fee. Reviews can only be removed from a page if Google removes it for violating their policies or the original poster deletes it. You can read more about removing reviews here.
Every professional knows how difficult it is for Google to remove reviews, but if the original poster deletes it… problem solved… for a fee of course…
In the above case, the “Review Management company” said they are not involved in such a scam, so too much of a coincidence?
Requesting ownership of a Google Business Profile Scam
Basically, the scam can be one of the following 2 ways:
Scammers may send you a fake email from Google and ask for login information. So beware and do not press any link before reading the rest.
However, the most prevalent way it’s through the Public Google Business Profile – the “Request Access” feature.
Anyone can claim ownership! And after 3 days, they might have the option to claim the listing for themselves if you don’t act.
In this article, you can see what you can do What to do if someone has requested ownership of a Google Business Profile.
Google Business Messaging being attacked by Spam/Scams
Spammy/Scammer SEO companies are spamming business through Google Business Profile Messages:
Why do I keep getting calls about my Google business listing?
You may receive calls from Google operators for the purposes of development, customer service, or support related to your Google Ads, Google Play, or other Google accounts. However, Google will never ask you for payment information over the phone or guarantee you favorable placement in our products.
How do I get Google Verification to stop calling me?
If you get several phone calls a week from an automated voice asking to verify your Google Business Profile.
The voice tells me to “press 1 now to verify your google business listing press 7 to remove yourself from the verification system.” Whether I press 1 or 7 the call hangs up. But a few days later the phone calls return.
Google is not the one making these calls. They are a scam. Do not give any information to them.
How to Verify if the Call Is From Google
In the case of a fraudulent call, the caller will say that they are working “with Google” or use vague and imprecise phrases like “Google specialist” or “calling on behalf of Google.”
If you’re in doubt, there is one sure way to find out if the caller is actually calling from Google. You can request that they send you an email from their official work email account. If you’re talking to a legitimate Google employee, you will receive a verification email from an @google.com email account.
Please check this Google Business Profile page for more information: https://support.google.com/business/answer/6212928?hl=en
What to Do if You Receive a Scam Call About Your Google Business Profile
You can simply hang up on scam calls, or you can take extra steps to help Google and other institutions to crack down on these malicious activities.
Do not press any keys
Even if the automated call tells you to press a key to be taken off the call list, this could easily lead to even more calls. Your best bet is to just hang up, or give the call some time to collect information and then report the call (see below).
Report suspicious calls in the US
You can also report suspicious calls to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by going to www.donotcall.gov or calling 1-888-382-1222. Another option is to submit a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission.
Report the call to Google
Google is aware of the existing fraudulence on its platforms, especially for Google reviews and the calls we’re talking about here. They have their own complaint system that you can access here. Once there, be sure to provide:
- The caller’s company and contact information
- Any additional documentation you received from them (emails, documents)
- Any other information you can provide about the call.
Additional resources for scam calls
- The FTC’s tips on handing robocalls.
- Your phone company: see if they can block specific numbers from contacting you.
- National Do Not Call Registry: Concat them via their website or call 1-888-382-1222.
- Google’s Safety Center.
If you need to further your knowledge about Google Business Profile, know how to optimize your profile, what can be done to help you rank better, detailed step by step guides, Pro tips, keep up with the latest changes, rules and optimizations, etc – just check my Google Business Profile Training!
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