Google Business Profile and other types of Google-related phone scams are on the rise in 2023, according to data shared with Search Engine Land by voice security service Hiya.
Why we care. If anyone calls you about your listing – telling you it “needs to be verified,” “has been flagged for review,” or “may be suspended” and promises to help you for a fee, it’s a scam. Google Business Profiles are free, but that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to profit from them for years.
17,000. More than 2,000 Google Business Profile scams were reported every month this year through July, for a total of more than 17,000, according to Hiya.
Robocall examples. Here are two examples out of more than 100 variations of messages people have received from these fake “Google partners”:
- “Business owners, your Google Business Profile has not been registered with Google. Please press 1 to be transferred to a business listing specialist to assist you in registering your Google Business Profile, or press 2 to be placed on the do not call list.”
- “Hello. We’re calling from Online Listing Group because your Google Business listing needs attention. If your listing is not showing up properly, customers will not be able to contact you or find your location. If you are the business owner, press 1 now to verify or update your business. Press 9 to opt out.”
Sorry, Kentucky. The four U.S. states that get the most Google scam calls, per person:
- Rhode Island
Past action. Google filed a lawsuit against the company G Verifier in November for allegedly charging business owners money for free Google Business Profiles, selling fake reviews and promising first-page rankings.
Google is aware of these robocalls and has a help document, Help protect against fraudulent calls, which reads:
“Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous individuals and companies who make fraudulent and misleading calls. Sometimes, callers or pre-recorded robocalls falsely claim to be working “with Google” or “for Google” in an attempt to sell different schemes and online marketing services to unsuspecting individuals and companies.
Many of these types of calls are not allowed under U.S. law (unless you have given permission to receive them), and Google is never behind them.”
Dig deeper. The anatomy of an SEO robocall scheme