There’s an automated call going around that claims your Google My Business information is incomplete and your listing is in danger of being deleted. It’s a very threatening call and will quickly get the attention of any business owner who relies on this free service from Google.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business is the current iteration of the company’s service that allows local business owners to add a listing in Google’s local organic listings. The service has been around for a number of years and originally began as Google Places. Business owners have taken advantage of the service to show their company details, hours of operation, services offered and to collect reviews from customers. Google My Business is a major part of any local marketing plan and carries long-term results. Plus, a well-optimized business page will show higher in local organic rankings.
Similar to Yahoo! Local and Yelp, this service helps establish a presence in the local market and is often used in conjunction with other digital marketing strategies. An unsubstantiated threat to have listing information deleted from Google’s database is certainly concerning.
The Scam Call
Our clients have been receiving this call from a spoofed number from Folsom, California, 916-235-9222. If you do a Google search on the number, you can quickly see the search engine results page is filled with claims of this being a scam.
Here is the call’s transcript via NoMoRobo.com:
This is an important message do not hang up the phone your Google business listing is at risk of displaying incorrectly. We’ve tried numerous times to contact you by telephone so we can check the status of your listing, this will only take a few minutes of your time. Press one so we can quickly check the status of your Google listing to ensure it’s active. If your Google listing is suspended or deleted your business will not be shown causing customers to think you’re no longer open for business. Press one now to check the status of your Google listing. If you’re the business owner, press one now. Press 2 to be removed from this list.
Naturally, we decided to give this number a call back to see who the company behind the scam is.
The number rings to another automated message and asks callers to press 1 to speak with an agent about saving your business listing. After following the automated message’s instructions, someone named Michael was on the line letting me know my business’s listing is in the queue to be deleted. Michael, who happens to have a thick Indian accent, gave me this information before even asking which business I was calling about. Before providing any information, I asked Michael for the name of his company and he let me know he is with Google Business Listings – not Google My Business, but Google Business Listings.
Michael continued to tell me my information was at risk of being deleted. I then provided the name of a random business I found on Google that had a fully-optimized listing. He verified the address and phone number with me, then told me the listing was going to be deleted because it didn’t have enough reviews from customers. I audibly started laughing, then proceeded to let him know I have plenty of experience with Google My Business and that it was easy to conclude this is a scam. Michael then ended the call.
What Can Local Business Owners Do?
If you happen to receive this automated message, please do not panic. The easiest thing to do with this scam or any other scam like it is to just ignore it. If you do have questions about your Google My Business profile, don’t hesitate to reach out and we will take a look at your listing.
Unless you make a serious effort to spam your Google My Business listing, there is no reason the company would delete your listing.