Ah! Google My Business scams! We get a lot of questions from our clients about those… so here goes.
Everyone thinks that this won’t happen to them, that they know not to give their credit card number and that no Somali prince would transfer them millions with gift cards (what a beautiful dream). In short, everyone considers themselves to be cautious. And despite everything, telephone frauds are on the rise in Canada, from 45,000 frauds in 2019 to over 70,000 in 2020. As of April 30, 2021, more than 33,000 frauds among Canadians were already reported.
Targets and strategies change often and the focus is now on companies. More specifically, companies using Google My Business for their online visibility management. Below we’ll talk about ways to recognize and avoid this major phone fraud by people pretending to be Google, but are in fact imposters.
Someone claiming to work with or for Google calls you to tell you that your Google My Business account will be deleted if you don’t pay an upkeep fee. He asks you to make an Interac transfer, to pay by bitcoin, by credit card or by prepaid card. He is polite, but with an alarming tone, almost threatening.
He urgently tell you that you don’t have time to do your research and urges you to transfer the money immediately so you don’t lose your data. He may also attempt to sell you SEO services for a monthly fee still claiming that these products are provided by Google or a company working in conjunction with Google.
This is all fraud and will not help your Google My Business account in any way. Google does not do its business over the phone. They use interfaces within their applications and if they are accountable to you, they will prioritize digital communication first and foremost (Google Chat, notification directly to Google My Business, Gmail, etc.).
TIPS AND TRICKS
Don’t be afraid to hang up, you won’t lose your data or your account. It will not make the person cry. They are trained for it and will make themselves urgent like an unscrupulous used car salesman. They’re going to put the pressure on, hang up.
Google could call you for :
- An already scheduled telephone meeting
- A customer service assessment without asking for your personal information
- Send a saved message for a reminder to update opening hours (often Google Maps)
- If you are registered in your account with a public phone number AND have given permission for Google to call you for customer experience reviews, new service features, or callbacks.
Google would NEVER call you for :
- Sell you a product or service
- Ask you to confirm your personal or Google account information;
- Send you a link where you must register;
- Ask you to pay accounts;
- Offer you to improve your SEO through monthly subscription services;
- Notify you of a security breach leading to a recovery of your data (and this in exchange for a cost …).All of this = FRAUD
How to avoid frauds of this kind?
How to avoid being fooled by telephone or electronic fraud? As a business, you want to reach your target customers, so some of your personal information has no choice but to be publicly displayed. This gives you the opportunity for fraudulent entities to reach you and attempt to phish you. There’s not much you can do about it, so here are the tips to follow about phishing:
- Anticipate that the call or message could be a fraud.If you interact with suspicion, it will be easier for you to spot the shady things: spelling mistakes, poor quality logos or icons, threats, lack of contact details, unofficial email address, refusal to respond to certain questions, the email will end up in your spam folder. Gmail can also send you an alert in the message telling you that it does not seem secure.
2.NEVER disclose information that is not already on your public platforms. Google will never ask you for your SIN, driver’s license number, password, or security questions. They can, however, confirm your business name or public phone number with you to make sure it’s up to date.
4. Do some research about the sender and ask for information about the person calling you. If he or she refuses to give you any, hang up.
5. Stay informed about media scams and recent types of phishing.
For regular users
- Avoid giving out any personal information publicly on social networks (last name, first name, phone number, your date of birth, the name of your children, your address, the make of your car, etc.)
- Do not connect to government sites, banks, transactions or personal files on unprotected external networks: LTE, ZAP, your local cafe, etc.
- Avoid clicking on download links in shady emails (.exe, .msi, .sh).
In conclusion, you can’t always avoid being called fraudulently like with stubborn dinner time surveys. However, you can avoid falling into the trap by staying informed and alert. Just remember, no one is safe from impending fraud. Spread the word! ; p