Google Business Profile Scam Calls
Over the past year, there has been an increase in the number of outgoing scam calls regarding Google Business Profiles. These business profiles, which run on Google’s search platform, have always been free for all users. Google offers their Google Business Profile accounts for free, just like Google Drive, Gmail, Google Maps, and their search engine. However, scam callers are still able to trick thousands of people each year into relinquishing their bank or credit card information in the name of saving their profiles.
Signs of GBP Scams
If anyone calls you saying that your Google Business account or listing needs to be “verified” or has been “suspended,” and they are willing to help you take care of the issue for a fee, ignore it and block the number. This is a scam. Your Google Business account is free, and help is also available for free through Google Support. On their anti-scam website, Google states that they may call you for the purposes of customer service, development, or support, but they will never ask for your payment information over the phone.
The calls will often come from someone impersonating a partner of Google’s, posing as a third-party generic company. Sometimes, they claim to be working “for Google” or “with Google” because it is harder to convince people they are the actual company. There are hundreds of variations of scripts they follow, so knowing how to identify them is key. If you get a robocall regarding an issue with your Google Business Profile that requires a fee to fix, it is best to disregard it.
Legal Action Against Scam Callers
Google filed a lawsuit last November against “G Verifier,” a fake third-party company that was conducting these calls. They were allegedly charging people for their free Google Business Accounts, selling fake reviews for businesses, and promising first-page listings to unsuspecting business owners.
Why Has There Been An Increase in Illegal Unsolicited Calls?
Over 2000 of these types of scam calls were reported by individuals every month this past year through July, totaling about 17,000 reports, according to Hiya, a company that tracks spam and scam call data.
Hiya has also found that four states experience the highest number of these spam calls: Kentucky, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Wyoming. If your business is in one or more of these states, you may be more likely to encounter a call like this. This is also a global problem, although the U.S. and Canada receive the majority of these calls.
If you are a business owner with a Google Business listing, or even if you are just someone who wants to help legitimate businesses, keep an eye out for these calls. Warn people you know to ignore these calls, and feel free to report them through Google’s anti-scam and fraud page. Remember, all services are free for your listing, and Google will never ask you to share any personal or financial information over the phone.