You probably have received these calls too: When the phone rang the other day, an automated voice asked me to press a certain number in order to claim my Google Business Listing. Other robo calls were more drastic asserting that my Google listing was at risk.
Knowing all the scams around Google listings, I became curious and pressed the requested 1 to be connected to a person. Soon I was connected to a sales rep who claimed that his company was a data provider for Google. He asked me to verify that I am the owner of the business. Then he tried to tell me that my business was not listed correctly on Google Maps; and that my listing had inaccuracies and was about to expire. He offered his help, for a certain fee. I finally declined and you too should do so.
Here is what you need to know about Google Listings
- Google listings are free unless it is paid advertisement (AdWords)
- Google Business Listings do not expire
- If you agree to share your information with the caller, your information is very likely to be used for marketing purposes – be prepared for more calls!
- If you share your Google account information, you open the door to private information like your email and browsing history
- To see a Google Data Provider, just look into your bathroom mirror
Google associates will never ask businesses for paid inclusion in their organic search results. Google does not offer fee-based services to manage online profiles or for organic search engine ranking. Google AdWords is a very specific paid advertising platform available.
Even a company as large as Google does not have the resources to contact every owner of every website on the internet. Nor do they want to. Google has been known to use direct mail to advertise it’s paid features, but the search giant does not engage in telemarketing cold calling to sell its products.
How to act when contacted by a ‘Google Data Provider’
- Hang up, do not push any button as that indicates to the robo system that a live individual has been reached
- This may result in further automated calls
- Definitely never share your Google account information including passwords or verification codes with anyone claiming to be representing Google
- Report automated phone calls to the FTC Do Not Call website
Hope this helps.