If you haven’t been robo-dialed by some company with an urgent message about your Google listing or that claims they can help you more effectively monetize your Google assets, consider yourself lucky. Scammers claiming to be Google or a Google-authorized affiliate abound, preying mostly on small business owners looking for an edge on their competition. Recently, Google has had enough and launched more aggressive measures to fight scams and fraud. And for small business owners everywhere, that’s good news.
Google’s New Scam-Fighting Efforts
To protect its reputation and consumer loyalty, Google has always been proactive in its efforts to shut down scams involving brand poaching. Now, it’s taking those efforts to a new level, starting with a couple high profile lawsuits against scammy marketing giants:
- Kydia, Inc. (and all its d/b/a’s and affiliates)
- Supreme Marketing Group (and its d/b/a)
But, because smaller scam organizations and “freelance” defrauders abound, Google’s inviting legitimate businesses to help identify the culprits.
Google has also distributed information to small business organizations to educate members about scams and fraud so that they can better protect themselves.
The ultimate goal of these measures is, of course, to reduce small business’ (and others’) risk of scams and fraud conducted on or through Google’s properties and services. That’s welcome news for small business owners who have limited time and/or financial resources to invest in paid fraud protection and/or fraud investigation.
How to Fight the Good Fight with Google
Google is aware that their reputation is at stake, so it makes sense for them to ramp up their scammer detection and elimination campaign. But at the end of the day, scammers target your business. So rather than wait and see how successful Google’s efforts are in deterring scammers, you can be proactive in your own fraud protection efforts…and at little to no cost to you or your business.
To minimize your risk for being “taken for a ride” by a scammer posing as a Google representative:
- Claim your Google My Business page (why and how this helps is another topic for another day…for now, just trust us. If you’re a com client, this has already been done for you.)
- Add your number (all of them) to the Do Not Call Registry
- Block numbers you can identify as scammers on your phone (if using a mobile/smart device) and report them via https://www.donotcall.gov (this is easier for local businesses with local customers because you know from the get-go that no one interested in your products/services is calling from Oyster Bay, NM or Papua New Guinea…for others, you may have to do some internet research or take the chance and answer once)
If you do take the chance and answer the phone, you can ask the caller to provide proof of their Google authorization/affiliation. An easy request may be a call-back number. If you cannot call back and speak to the same representative or if the number they provide has a different area code, those are clues that the operation may be shady. Of course, if you get a quick hang-up, you know for sure it’s a scammer.
Do you have any information to share about Google-posing scammers using 505 numbers? Share what you know on our Facebook page.