As a small business owner, you’re always looking for ways to enhance your online presence and attract more customers. However, in this digital age, it’s important to be cautious of potential scams that could target your business. One prevalent scam that has been affecting many small business owners is the “Google Verification” or “Missing Information” scam. In this blog post, we’ll delve into how you can identify these scams and what steps you should take to protect your business.
Drawing from Personal Experience:
I’m a marketing manager with over a decade of experience and a verified✔ Google Business Profile, and even I receive these calls several times a day. It’s important to realize that these scammers aren’t just targeting newcomers; they’re looking for vulnerabilities in any business they can find. This fact alone highlights the need for all business owners, regardless of their experience level, to be cautious and well-informed.
The Scam: What You Need to Know
The “Google Verification” or “Missing Information” scam typically starts with a phone call or an email claiming to be from Google or a Google Partner. The caller may inform you that your business is not verified on Google or that your business information is incomplete, which they claim is affecting your online visibility. They might even offer to help you rectify the situation for a hefty fee, of course.
⚠Red Flags to Watch Out For:
- Pressure to Act Quickly: Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to make you act without thinking. If the caller insists on immediate action or threatens dire consequences, be skeptical.
- Requests for Payment: Legitimate Google services are rarely paid over the phone. If the caller asks for payment or your credit card information, it’s a strong indicator of a scam.
- Unsolicited Contact: Google doesn’t typically contact businesses proactively about verification issues via phone. In fact, when one has a legitimate issue, Google notoriously lacks support. Be cautious of unsolicited calls or emails claiming to be from Google.
- Lack of Verification: Ask the caller for specific information about your business, like the name and address. If they can’t provide accurate details, it’s likely a scam.
- Unprofessional Communication: Poor grammar, vague answers, or reluctance to provide their own contact information are signs that the caller is not legitimate. In fact, the first thing you should do when receiving one of these calls is to ask for the name of the company they work for. They usually hang up immediately.
✋Steps to Protect Your Business:
- Stay Calm: If you receive such a call, take a deep breath and don’t panic. Scammers thrive on creating panic and urgency.
- Ask Questions: Engage the caller by asking detailed questions about their identity and their association with Google. A legitimate representative should be able to provide clear and verifiable answers.
- Check Your Google Account: Log in to your Google Business Profile independently. If there’s any issue with your business verification or information, you will likely see notifications directly within your account. If you don’t have a Google Business Profile, don’t trust a random caller to handle it for you. Find your own trusted marketing expert, or follow my guide to set up your Google Business Profile.
- Go To Google Directly: If you have doubts, hang up the phone and go to Google’s official Support pages for Google Business Profile.
- Educate Your Staff: Ensure that your employees are aware of these scams too. Scammers may target anyone associated with your business.
- Trust Your Instincts: If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t be afraid to decline offers or requests that seem suspicious. There are SO MANY scams out there targeting small businesses. If you didn’t reach out to the caller first for their services, it’s either a scam or spam.
- Keep Your Info Secure: Never provide personal information, login credentials, or payment information to a suspected scammer or spammer.
Stay Safe, Work With A Trusted Marketing Professional
While online verification and enhancing your business’s online presence are important, it’s equally important to remain vigilant against potential scams. Scammers prey on business owners’ desires to succeed, and they exploit any lack of awareness. Remember, it’s better to be cautious than to fall victim to a scam that could have serious consequences for your business and finances.
As a marketing manager who’s dedicated to helping businesses thrive, I urge you to remain vigilant against scams that threaten to derail your progress. Remember that you’re not alone in facing these challenges; even experienced professionals encounter them. I get these calls every day.
By staying informed, trusting your instincts, and prioritizing independent verification, you can protect your business and focus on the strategies that truly enhance your online presence and customer reach. Together, we can outsmart the scammers and continue pushing our businesses forward.