Believe it or not, unscrupulous scammers are actively out there all over the Internet right now attempting to steal Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) listings just like yours! If they succeed, these fraudsters can destroy the reputation of your business and instantly steal your valuable traffic.
In fact, Google has reported that last year it blocked more than 100 million abusive edits on Google Business Profiles by scam artists who tried to edit those listings. In addition, Google removed seven million fake Business Profiles last year alone.
Understanding a Typical Google Business Profile Scam Technique
How does this type of Google Business Profile (GBP) scam work? The fraudster attempts to gain access to your GBP listing by requesting ownership to it from Google. In turn, Google sends a legitimate email asking you to approve the ownership request.
It looks like this:
If you simply ignore or delete the email, your listing can become eligible for anyone to claim. Then they initiate the claiming process and get control. Bam! – They’ve stolen your listing. Once they have control, they can quickly make unwanted changes (such as post incorrect information, rename your business, steal your reviews or have your GBP deleted entirely!). Sometimes they will even hold your GBP page hostage and request you make a payment to revert ownership back to you.
In fact, on Google’s own “Request Ownership of a Business Profile” page, it clearly states that “If you don’t get a response [from your access request] after 3 days, you might have the option to claim the profile yourself.”
That’s why if you receive a legitimate email from Google (to confirm make sure the sender’s email address ends in “@google.com”) regarding someone trying to access your GBP, do not ignore it. Respond immediately. Simply click the “Review Request,” reject the phony request and let Google know why.
If you determine that the email is not legitimately from Google, don’t ignore it either. Contact Google and report the attempted fraud.
Steps You Can Take to Prevent Your GBP from Getting Hijacked
In addition to quickly responding to a request from Google regarding unauthorized access to your GBP, there are several ways you can protect your Google Business Profile from GBP scammers:
- Claim and Verify Your Google Business Profile If You Haven’t Done So Yet
- Completely Fill Out Your GBP and Constantly Keep it Updated
- Make Sure the Business Owner’s Email Address is Set as the Primary Owner
- Limit Access to Your GBP Page So It Is Less Likely to be Compromised
- Regularly Monitor Your GBP and Verify that all the Information About Your Business is Up to Date and Accurate
- Protect Your GBP from Unauthorized Access by Enabling Two-Factor Authorization
- Keep Track of Google Security Updates Regarding GBP Listings
Get Expert Help to Ensure Your GBP is Secure and Optimized
Your Google Business Profile is one of your most important resources as you implement your local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. In other words, if you want your business to get found locally, you NEED a well-maintained Google Business Profile. Best of all, it’s completely free to use!
That’s why if you’re concerned with the security of your GBP, you need to optimize your Google Business Profile or you don’t even have a GBP listing yet, we’re here to help! The team of specialists at ROAR! Internet Marketing will take a customized approach to strengthen and optimize your Google Business Profile. This will allow you to better interact with your targeted audience and give you a powerful competitive advantage.
In addition, we’ll develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for your business and ensure it’s executed to perfection. Contact us today to schedule a zero-obligation consultation.