In recent months there has been a massive uptick in phone calls from “Google” offering local search optimization or other SEO services. It is important to note that these calls are 100% not real. Google is not calling to sell you services. These are unethical SEO companies trying to drum up business by pretending to work with Google, or worse, phishing for sensitive information they can use to harm the business in one way or another.
These businesses should not be trusted and will do whatever they can to try and get some money from you. Whether this is by offering you services, selling you a listing, or any other number of scams currently making the rounds.
These calls are looking to:
- Charge a small business for inclusion in Google My Business or Google Search.
- Offer a fee-based service to improve your business’s search ranking or manage your online profile.
- Ask you for sensitive information over the phone about your Google account, including your Google password or verification code.
How To Tell If It’s Really Google?
Hint: It’s not! Probably the easiest way to tell is did you ask them to call you? Google will almost never contact your business without first being prompted (probably never for 99.99% of businesses). On the rare occasion Google may contact you to verify your business listing is legitimate, or to offer some advice on how best to optimize your Google Adwords account. Both of these services are free and Google will never try and sell it to you. NetClimber is a Google partner and the only times we have had Google call us unsolicited is when one of our Google account reps is replaced. Every other time we have asked them to call us either by submitting forms, asking questions to one of our reps, or calling them directly. Keep in mind, Google will never ask you to buy anything, ever.
What Can You Do?
Try and ignore these calls. When they call hang up. You can also report any phone scams or misrepresentations to the Better Business Bureau or Google’s Fraud Department. These organizations will be able to investigate the allegations further. Make sure you do not engage with these callers or else you could be targeted for future scams.
These calls are not only annoying but can be dangerous. Best practice is to never give information of any sort to anyone over the phone. It is very rare that Google will call you. If they do, be very aware of the types of information they are asking for. They will never ask you to confirm payment details, usernames, or passwords. If you are ever in doubt ask them to prove they work for Google, if it a genuine call they will be able to.