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Some agencies pretend to be assigned by Google to update your Google My Business listing. Google doesn’t entrust this task to anyone. Don’t be taken in!

Here’s a Google My Business listing

google-my-business-listing

The approach

First, the caller will verify your identity: “Am I speaking to so-and-so from such-and-such company?”

He or she will then claim to be a Google representative: 👨‍💼 “I’ve received your file from Google and I have certain information on your Google My Business listing that needs to be verified. Do you consent to look at it with me?”

Lie #1: Google doesn’t have a team of field representatives or agencies whose duty it is to update company listings.

The discussion continues as the caller verifies the information appearing on your Google listing point by point: full mailing address, telephone number, website, photos, geographical location, etc. The caller, who really seems to know what he or she is talking about, then asks you if you can see the link “Suggest an edit – Own this business?”

“If you can see it, it means that this option must be disabled immediately. Otherwise, anyone can modify your listing. We can do it for you since we have access to your listing.”

google-my-business-suggest-an-edit

Lie #2: these two lines appear on every listing and you can’t disable them. Verify it for yourself! The line “Own this business?” appears on every listing—even the ones that aren’t yours! If someone tries to claim your listing, a validation code will be sent to your company by telephone or mail. This method helps prevent fraud. Change requests and suggestions for modifications to Google My Business listings are always sent via email and must be approved by the owner of the listing.

The caller will then ask you a completely ridiculous question: “Do you know your competitors?” Of course you do! “If you scroll down, you’ll see that your competitors are advertising on your listing. This option must be disabled.”

google-my-business-search

Lie #3: this is obviously not true, as the advertisements are for related companies. This section is managed by Google to highlight companies that are similar to the one in the listing. Companies do not pay to be featured in this spot.

The supposed representative will then offer to update your listing and get you paid indexing so that you can appear on the first page of Google. Despite claiming to work for Google, the person will request payment directly from you. 🤑

The reality

There are no certified Google Partner agencies that are assigned by Google to update your Google My Business listing. The person at the other end pretending to be available to help you will be convincing. Guaranteed! The fake representative will even use a Google Partner badge to appear more credible (sort of like an external certification to reinforce perceived value). You should be aware that any agency that meets the eligibility requirements can become a certified Google Partner.

To be completely honest, we’re writing this because several of our clients have been approached by these scam artists who claim to be Google representatives. One of our clients even delegated the follow-up of the fraudulent call to one of the web strategists here at BJMédia! We played along to get a better understanding of the scam so we could defend our client! We always work to support our clients—today, tomorrow and forever! 🦸 We were able to familiarize ourselves with their strategy of approach: their speech is peppered with pseudo-convincing assertions.

If you’re faced with this situation, don’t worry! Just be indulgent. We don’t want you to have to go through the same unpleasant situation. You aren’t the first to be approached nor will you be the last. Just remember that Google doesn’t enter into partnerships of this kind with anyone.

What you can do

  • Listen to the caller, ask for his or her full name and the name of the company they work for.
  • Say that you know it’s a fraudulent call and then hang up.
  • Do not give out any confidential information under any circumstances!
  • Do not purchase the product or service being offered, even if the person insists.
  • If you’re a BJMédia client, contact us immediately!

For more information, please refer to the Google My Business help page Guidelines for representing your business on Google.

If you’ve been approached by a supposed representative assigned to update your Google My Business listing and you have any questions, contact us! That way, we can talk about it (and reassure you)!