Google My Business is an invaluable, perhaps an indispensable marketing tool for local businesses of all types, but its very popularity makes it a big target for scammers.
Pet stores and other pet-related services such as groomers, trainers, sitters and boarders, and doggy daycare operators are not immune to the devious schemes of these crooks and annoying pests. Perhaps you’ve already experienced calls from people portraying themselves as representatives of GMB and trying to sell you services or asking for payments for things that you already get from Google free of charge. It happens to hundreds of businesses every day. Luckily it’s easy to identify these scams, read on to find out more.
Legitimate Google My Business Calls
There are only a few situations that might result in a real Google rep giving you a call.
- Business Verification. When you sign up for GMB you have to verify your identity. Many types of businesses qualify to do this over the phone, others have to receive a verification code in the mail. If you do qualify, a rep, or maybe a robot, will simply call you and give you a code to enter in your GMB account and that’s it.
- Fact-Checking. Occasionally you may receive an automated call verifying your hours of operation or other business details to ensure accuracy on your listing.
- Account Support/Customer Service. Most commonly as a result of you submitting a support ticket or asking a question.
Common GMB Scam Calls
Although you can’t underestimate the ingenuity of scammers, usually they’ll use one of two approaches, and some might be bold enough to try both in the same call.
- Selling Services. They’ll tell you they can help you optimize your SEO and get you a huge boost in your search engine rankings. These calls might even come from legitimate SEO companies but the services they’re trying to sell you are usually available from GMB for free. Never buy anything from an unsolicited caller.
- Listing Removal Threats. These jokers will tell you that you owe a fee, and if you don’t pay up, your business will be removed from all search and map results. They can be quite intimidating and demanding. Tell them to go pound sand and contact Google directly if you’re worried.
Identifying Google My Business Scammers
Here are a few sure-fire ways to tell if a GMB call is real or fake.
- Identity Verification. Simply ask the caller to prove they work for Google. They can easily do this by sending an email from Google to your business or personal email, which they’ll have on file if they’re for real. Google is well aware of these scams and will be happy to comply. If they try to weasel out of it, hang up.
- Requests For Personal Info. Google will never ask you for payment information or passwords or anything else. You’ve already given them everything they need.
- Attempts To Sell Services. Google doesn’t work with third-party businesses, and they’ll never try to sell you any services like removing bad reviews or boosting SERPs.
If you ever need to call the Google My Business offices and talk to a real, live human being, their number is 1-844-491-9665 and they’re available Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm EST.
Don’t let yourself be intimidated by these frauds. By being aware of their tactics and knowing how to foil their schemes you’ll be fully protected from these despicable scammers. Independent pet retailers that work with NextPaw are able to minimize these scam calls by claiming their business identity online that then shows these callers the business is verified and there is no need to call. If you’d like to learn more about NextPaw, you can schedule a demo here.