Google Business Profile Scam – Beware Fraudulent Ownership Requests
December 22nd 2022 | By Steve Grant
A well-managed Google Business Profile helps ensure potential customers find a business when looking for products and services in their local area. The listing shows searchers where and how to visit a business, relays reviews from customers and answers common questions. It can also improve local SEO results.
Google Business Profiles can be claimed by the owner or manager of a business in Google Search or Google Maps. If someone already owns that profile, they will receive an email asking if they approve or deny the new ownership request.
However, according to reports in the local SEO community, there has been a spate of fraudulent requests to claim and take ownership of Google business listings. Some reports mentioned as many as five scam requests to try and hijack a single account.
The ploy shows up as an email from Google asking for ownership to be granted in an attempt to gain access to a listing. The worrying thing is that anyone can claim ownership of a business listing, so it is vital to keep tabs on emails making this request.
What to do if you receive a suspicious Google Business Profile ownership request?
If you do receive such a request, it is important to validate that the person making the claim is genuine and someone you actually know and are happy to manage your profile. If you are not sure, it is best to reject the request rather than grant it. If the wrong person gains access to your business listing, they could potentially change it, or even remove it.
It’s crucial to stay on top of your business listings and ensure the information is up to date and accurate. Never give access to your business profile to anyone you don’t know and trust.
The Google help document on ownership requests says that if a profile has already been verified and you are authorised to managed it, you can request ownership from the current profile owner. If you can’t see a ‘Claim this Business’ link on the profile, you are likely already its owner and you should be able to see a ‘You Manage This Business Profile’ badge.
The fake ownership request scam is not a new issue. It has been going on for many years, but there has been an increased spate recently.
For this reason, it’s doubly important to be on your guard and keep check of emails and make sure your listing is as it should be. The last thing you want is a competitor gaining access to your Google Business listing and then having it removed from Google Maps and Google Search.
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