Some bad actors might try to hijack your profile!
We were recently contacted by several clients reporting that someone tried to claim their Google My Business listing (GMB). Let us put this into perspective: Google My Business is one of the best ways to be found locally. That means that people who search in your area for a business of your kind on Google find it displayed on a map, next to similar businesses (your competitors). It is a free service Google provides.
In other words – it is essential. Since years, we claim our client’s Google My Business listing and share the access with them. If you are not aware of your Google My Business listing or have never used it to respond to reviews, please contact us.
The success of your GMB listing is dependent on various factors like the reviews you receive (including your response), the amount of information you publish, keeping the content current (photos) – just to name a few.
How does the GMB phishing attempt happen?
Unethical marketers often use the Claim this business button on the Google my business listing. In case the listing is already claimed (we include this in our website packages) it triggers an email to the registered account owner. If the account owner is not familiar with the request and agrees to hand over their account to the person who requests it. This is like handing over the keys of your business to a stranger who works for your competitor.
Why is someone claiming your business?
It is unlikely that someone would claim your listing with good intent. Anybody who wants to claim a business has to go through a few steps and is made aware that the listing is already managed by someone else.
This likely means that the person claiming the profile is counting you hitting the Confirm button without knowing the consequences.
We read about a case where the phone number of a law firm was altered, leading to a lawyer referral service!
Asked about this phenomenon, a Google spokesperson said: “We’re aware of this incident and are monitoring it closely and are continually working to keep the information on Maps safe and accurate. If a merchant ever receives a request to manage or to transfer ownership from an unknown person, they should decline the request. The rights to own or manage a Business Profile can only be granted if the verified merchant accepts the request or the requester proves their affiliation with the business.”
Reclaiming can be arduous
If you ever dealt with Google My Business support, you will know that things take their time over there, especially during a pandemic. Claiming your business back is always a challenge and time-consuming. You need to report it to Google My Business via the Redressal Form and it will be returned to its original state.
What to do when you receive such an email?
If you get one of these emails, our recommendation is to simply delete it. Also, it’s a very good idea not to have tons of managers on your Google My Business listing. Having more users increases the likeliness that one of them could accidentally click it and give an unauthorized party control of your business listing.