Google robocall scam targets local businesses: BBB warning

IF you own a business and have any sort of online presence you will be found in Google’s online search engine at some point. Now, there’s a robocall scam making the rounds claiming to be from Google and targeting Canadian businesses, warns BBB.

The call asserts your business might not be found as easily as it could be through a Google search and that they can fix it for a fee. These shady, flight-by-night companies say your business will show up on Google as permanently closed unless you follow through with the telephone prompt and speak to a salesperson. Not only are the robocalls deceptive, they are falsely claiming to represent Google. The calls have been a problem in the U.S. and the Federal Trade Commission recently launched a law suit against telemarketing firm Point Break over a variety of similar complaints.

“As with any scam of this nature they are after your money by convincing you they have a product or service you need. We even got a call here at BBB. Our Google ranking is among the best in the world so I know there’s no problem here,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “At this point we don’t know if it’s the same company targeting Canadian businesses. However, it gets tricky because Google does, in fact, make automated calls to businesses from time to time, but they aren’t sales calls.”

Google does not:
* Charge businesses for Google searches or to be in Google My Business.
* Make offers to improve your search engine optimization or page ranking.
* Ask for personal information or payment over the phone.
* Make unsolicited sales calls with an automated system.
* Guarantee favourable placement in their products.
Google does:
* Make automated calls from a set of designated numbers. If businesses don’t want to accept these calls, they can opt-out by simply saying so on the call. Calls can include such things as confirming your business hours.
* Call for the purpose of development, customer service, or support related to your Google AdWords product. However, you will be talking to a person and it won’t be an automated call.