BEWARE Call From Google Business Listings is Fake

Over the past several months, we have been receiving robocalls daily from a recorded message claiming that our Google Business Listing may not be claimed or verified. As a digital marketing company that focuses on local SEO, we immediately knew this call was fake. If you stay on the line long enough, this call presents you with 2 options. Option 1 is to speak to someone about your Google Business Listing and option 2 is to be removed from the list. Today, I decided to press 1 and find out more about this shady practice and to find out if they are a scam.

Update 07/21/18: Google is now going after these companies. Report them to Google using this form: 

Fake Google Business Listings Call Is A Scam

Once I was connected, a representative asked me to verify that I am the owner of “insert business name here” which was actually a business I ran many years ago with a partner. Even though I no longer am part of this business, I decided to play along to discover more about this call to find out if it is a scam or something else. The representative asked me what type of service we offer and not thinking, I told him we offer “Digital Marketing” services. Immediately he told me that we do not need a Google Business Listing for that type of service.

I decided to push a little more, as I still have not discovered if this was a scam. I asked him directly if this was a scam. He then told me that they are a company which you pay to claim your Google Business Listing. After speaking with him, I did realize they are not a scam in the legal sense, however, they are running a very shady and unethical practice.

This caller never Identifies themselves as Google, however, they never state they’re not Google. Rather, their representatives act as if they are “looking you up in the system” to give you the illusion that you are talking to someone at Google. Once they find your Google Business Listing is not claimed, they will then proceed to sell you a service to claim your listing for you. Unfortunately, I could not get to this point to find out how much they were charging or discover their true identity.

These companies claim to be a Google Authorized group that can claim your listing. This is not true. Anyone can claim their listing, no group is “Google Authorized” to claim your listings.

Protect Yourself From Non-Legitimate Phone Calls From Google

Google has created a page about this phone call from Google Business Listings to help you understand how to spot them. From time to time, Google may call you to verify your business or confirm business listings. This is something they will do, however, they do provide these items that Google does not do.

Google does NOT:

  • Charge you for inclusion in Google My Business or Google Search. It is free to add your site for both of these.
  • Offer to improve your search ranking or manage your business’s online profile. If you are interested in this type of service, Data Driven Labs offers Local Search Optimization packages.
  • Ask you for your password or verification code. THIS IS IMPORTANT! Never give this information to anyone who calls you. Google will never need this information.
  • Place robocalls.

Google provides a page of information on current scams that are running including telemarketing scams.

Who Are They

First, realize, these companies are not Google. These type of calls, known as robocalls, are illegal in the United States as defined by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Google has nothing to do with them. These are unethical “marketing” companies that are trying to sell you marketing plans for verification packages. While selling services to help companies claim their listings is a legitimate service, the approach these companies take is what makes this unethical.

Google has even gone as far as filing a lawsuit against one of these unethical “marketing” companies. The suit is still working itself out, but, the suit claims that the marketing company is making false or misleading claims during the sales process to confuse consumers into believing there is some type of relationship between them and Google.

Update 9/27/2017: We received another call and were able to gather additional information. They stated that they are a Google Authorized group who will take down your information and claim your listing as Google only works with Fortune 500 companies and that Google has authorized companies such as them to work with small and medium-sized businesses. When I asked the name of their company, they told us a fake name of “PDS a Google Listings Authorized Company”. When I asked what “PDS” stood for, they would not say.

Be aware, this is not true. You can claim your listing on your own. Google will even deal with you via their support system, regardless of the size of your business.

Update 2/6/2018: Today we received a call from another company. She quickly claimed that our listing had become unlisted in February of 2016 (not true) and is scheduled for deletion (again another lie). I asked her if they are Google just to see if they would lie here. She did say they are not Google but a “Google Certified Partner”. I then asked the name of the company, she stated their name was “Local Listings”. After some further digging on the call, I was able to get her to admit she was with a company out of Cedar City, Utah.

Please realize, this company is not calling on behalf of Google. They are very careful in how they disguise themselves just skirting past the law. The fact I had to push to get their real name shows they know their service is not ethical. In the Google product forms, we found one user who had this lie told to them:

I received a call today from “Company Name” informing me that my business has been flagged for removal. They told me that I must pay a “lifetime fee” of $359.00 to keep my business listing active.

This is not true. Google will not require you to pay for your Google Business Listing to remain active. Your Google listing is free and can be managed and optimized by you, the business owner at no cost.

What Should You Do?

Don’t Hire Them!

First, do not pay these companies a dime. They are not affiliated with Google and are only selling you a product that you can do for free on your own. Instead, claim your own listing through Google and then optimize the listing yourself. It is a very simple process and does not require much work on your part. In addition, the listing is now claimed under your own Google account giving you full control of it. Once claimed, your listing will not expire, contrary to what these scam calls will suggest. Your listing will stay claimed and if you have any issues, you can contact Google directly through their support channels.

Report Them!

UPDATE: Google has now launched a tool to report third-parties that are running this scam. To report these callers, go fill out this form provided by Google to report them. Google has filed lawsuits against 5 of these companies already and is asking for the public to provide them with information of others that are engaging in this practice. 

First, try to stop the calls from coming in. We suggest adding your business to the National Do Not Call List. All legitimate telemarketing companies are supposed to check their call list agist the National Do Not Call List and remove your number from their calling list. If they continue to call once you have added yourself to the list, file a complaint with the National Do Not Call List. This may not stop them, however, it does notify the FTC of these calls.

Second, ask to be removed from their list and to not contact you again. Again, this only works sometimes as they do not always follow through.

Third, warn others. Many of these company continue to operate because nobody else knows about this scam. Share this article with others or write your own blog post or social media message to share with other business owners. If you are part of a local chamber or business group, take a few minutes to speak to other members and warn them of this scam. There are other sites online where you can report scams such as the BBB and others. File a complaint with these types of sites to help warn others.

Leave A Comment Below

We would love to hear about your experience and understand how this scam evolves. Because legitimate marketing companies could be confused with this scam, we ask that you not use the business name.

Update: We have removed all identifiable company names & phone numbers from the comments below. Please do not post names, just your experience. 

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Total Scam Alert – – – Our company too, received a call from this number *** stating that they were with PDS, who subcontracts with Google for verifying small business’ google listings. The floor manager by the name of John would not provide much more information about the name of their company PDS, or give me a call back number or website to verify who they were or what they do. I believe that this number is coming from a malicious group who are looking to steal data from small business or individuals. I too agree that this business is unethical.

    This comment has been edited to remove identifiable information.

      • Got a call today from ****. Life time google listing at discount for $359. Thank you for your article!!!!!

        This comment has been edited to remove identifiable information.

      • I was working for a company out of port st Lucie fl **** llc scam scam scam I have all the business info I even want to know if I can sue for the hardships I wnt through working there

        • Javier, Sorry you went through trouble working for one of these companies. We do not need any information, however, you would need to speak to an attorney about what legal options you have.

    • Same here – was told to call James at ***. We really just need out google map address fixed and they said they could fix it if we verifried our business account with google for $199 one time fee. James got rather animated when I mentioned that I just need him to send me the information and I would pass it on to our marketing people to take care of it. Glad I found this article as our marketing team is rather new and would have likely just paid the fee. Company said their name was ***** when they picked up the phone – thought that strange that they didn’t answer as Google.

      This comment has been edited to remove identifiable information.

      • Hi just had a conversation with John as well and I ask him If he was located in the town the caller ID indicated (a small town near me),he said no, he was in Fort Lauderdale Florida. He then said “write this down a#*hole, suck my c*#k” And he hung up.

  2. Same here in NY. All the lady would tell me is that her company name is PDS, and when I pushed for further information such as their address or details, she simply hung up. How can we get them to stop calling us?

    • Getting them to stop calling is difficult. They should have a way for you to request to be removed from their list, however, because they are skirting by the law and some are even breaking the law, they don’t always offer up a way out. If you can locate their actual company, you can file a complaint, however, since they are hiding this information, it is difficult.

      • Just spent 10 minutes with someone claiming to work with Google (no caller ID, so don’t know phone number). It was on wings of robo-call saying “Do not hang up…” but was in gullible mood, I suppose. Was connected with someone who, while having tell-tale salesman’s edge, seemed to want to get my business site all squared-away, as, coincidentally I’d had problems verifying myself as business owner with Google.

        It was only after 10 minutes that I learned of “one-time $199 lifetime fee” and was suddenly disabused of notion person was possible legit. Then I googled google business scams and found you. Thanks for helping alert people.

        • Wow…I got the same ‘one-time $199 lifetime fee’ I called google to find if there was a way I could do this for free and then found out it’s the only way to do it…because they don’t offer that service.

          Google Rep: ‘Ma’am, are you sure the person you spoke with was from google?’

          Me: Yeah…wait…

          Google Rep: ‘Yes…it sounds like a scam.’

      • I have officially received 20 phone calls from a small town near me claiming that I need to pay $400 to “claim and verify my Google listing”. After repeatedly asking to be pulled off the list, I was told yesterday that until I pay, I will continue to get rerouted. They will pull me from “their sites listing, but there are many satellite sites”. Yesterday’s call was in Florida. They would not give me names, cities or a supervisors name. I have even been hung up on twice while questioning. Hitting the number 2 to be removed from their listing does NOTHING as it just goes to another one of their call centers to call you again and again! It is the most annoying and to the point of harrassing thing I have been though on the phone. I can not get it to stop…

  3. Just dealt with these people. I asked for name of company they gave me name, I asked for address and she got belligerent that i was asking to many questions. Her name was Leah and wow did she get feisty in a flash. we receive multiple calls like these every day. using Googles name in the first few seconds of a robo call is wrong. I hung up on her as she elevated the tone extra fast. can’t believe some people what a shady fear based way to make a buck.

    • Thanks for your comment. Yes, they get very upset with you. We had another one today, when I asked if they were Google, they said they are a Google Certified Partner for Business Listings (FYI, Google has Certified partners for Analytics and Adwords, not business listings). When I asked the name she said “Local Listings” I asked out of where and she said Utah. I then said I can’t find them online and she said their DBA is out of Cedar City, Utah.

  4. How do I get them to stop calling?! I have blocked there number. I have pressed two to be taken off their call list. They call over and over and over again at my office. Sometimes only fifteen minutes later. They keep calling from a different number once I block them or press #2. I am so annoyed with this company. They are spamming me over the phone and I can’t get them to stop.

    • Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a way to fully stop them. They are breaking the law by robocalling you to start, so, there is no legal way to stop them. Cellphone providers are working on a solution to block robocalls, however, they have not rolled it out due to some FTC regulations. There are a few robocall blocking apps that do a pretty good job. This was how I decreased mine, however, I still get a decent bit.

      • Hi, Chris.
        For cell phones the best I’ve found is an app called HIYA. It blocks most without my phone even ringing. Legit calls come through and if a scam does get through, you can report and block through HIYA and it gets flagged for other customers. Totally free version.

        • I have been using Nomorobo but I have had a few recommend HIYA. I am going to give it a try and see how it does. Thanks.

  5. I receive at least 10 calls per day at my business, I had the one number memorized as to not answer it, but now they use different numbers randomly all day long. I spoke with a “Supervisor”. He gave me a address to fix it. Yeah, its not fixed. 5 robocalls so far today and the day isn’t over yet.

    • SAME! I keep asking them to remove me and I just got two in the span of 30 minutes! They hang up when I ask to be removed.

  6. ****** in New York has not stopped calling our business, despite multiple phone calls and asking to be removed from the call list. If you get bored one day, here is there phone number: ***-***-****… maybe after spamming them, they might get the hint!

    This comment has been edited to remove identifiable information.

    • I fell for the scam with a rep….she offered me to go on join.me to do a online meeting after i paid 150$ for google listing…..ill do a chargeback….

      I didnt go on join me after reading this

  7. A lot of these people are calling, when asking and being told to be removed from the list they say fine but they keep calling. Colorado is a state where only one party has to be aware that the call is being recorded. Some of these I have been able to capture with my cell phone and Leah is a caller as well. You can tell it’s a fairly large operation due the amount of other voices you can hear in the background. Here’s some information I have asked to help further this issue.
    1. When pressed for an actual Federal Tax ID to track their business through the attorney general they refuse.
    2. When asking for an address to send a formal Cease and Desist to, they state they have no physical address and are satellite offices.
    3. When asked for a corporate address they state they are not allowed to give that information out.
    4. When asked for an Employee ID they say a random number 1-10 so far. I haven’t gotten one higher than that.
    5. They call multiple times and it’s a robo call. The number you call back has often been spoofed to lead to a disconnected number or some poor blokes cell phone.
    6. This takes a while but the best way to get these folks to stop calling or at least reduce the number of calls is speak with them for 5 minutes or longer ask random silly questions and make random stuff up about your business. Waste their time and eventually the stats they run they stop calling. I am just guessing at this but this is what I can surmise from my experience as an analyst. Anything over a 60-90 second call is recorded and marked down as spoken with. If nothing is closed and money is not obtained they will try again. If the pattern repeats multiple times with no money obtained they are now wasting dialer calls and time for agents. 3 minutes is equal to roughly 8 calls or more that the agent can go through. Eventually they will stop. We have gone from 5-8 calls a day to maybe 1 now.

    • I receive up to 15 calls per day even after blocking them. The ways I’ve gotten most of them to take off their list:
      1. I have them update my address by giving them Google”s address and phone #.
      2. I take the call and give them credit card info of 1234567891234567 and keep insisting it’s correct. They get frustrated and they put me on THEIR DNC list!
      3. I do not answer or let the answering machine pick up, if I recognize the #. If it simply rings and they get no connection, you will be removed.
      4. I get “hysterical” and tell them I must speak to my psychic dog before I make ANY decisions.
      5. I say f&*% you over and over in a sing song voice every time they say something.
      6. I tell them they have reached Google and I am the owner.
      Might be a little extreme, but it’s starting to work, lol!

  8. HI–we have been receiving at least 10 or more calls a day by numerous phone numbers claiming we need to verify our google listing. Just had one a few minutes ago. I actually pressed 1 to see what he said. Pretty much what you had described. Asked if i had a credit card i wanted to use to pay the fee of $379. I told him no and to put me on the “do not call list”. He also acted like he was looking up our google listing and told me that all of our competitors were coming up but not us. Ha Ha–i got on computer after that and googled glass repair and lo and behold there we were. I can believe they keep getting away with this. The calls are getting annoying to say the least.

  9. I get calls from different numbers constantly asking me to verify my business listing. I got tired of hanging up on these folks. So I spoke to the guy. I realize that I am an independent insurance associate. I have an office downtown but my mail goes to my house. I gave them the correct address information that Id like my business address to be shown and not the mailing address which is residential. After that I was transferred to a 2nd person to type and verify my changes in my google listing. I was told that in order to update my information. There was a 1 time fee of $399 today for a lifetime fee. After the fee, I would never be contacted or asked to pay again. I said that is too much, and he promises to give me a discount. Asking could I pay $249. I said I can’t do that without looking over everything carefully. He then proceeded to knock the fee down to $199 today only. I told him please send me the information to look over carefully and I will call you back. He said he would send me an email with a link to the ad.. But he still needed a payment now. Also, he indicated that there was no way for me to call him back. I said forget it, and hung up. That’s too much pressure. If it was legitimate, a company would not demand immediate payment now for advertisement. There would be information to send out and a time frame for payment. After the call, I searched for google business ad verification and your website popped up. I’m certain that it was a scam. Thank goodness I hung up on the man.

    • This just happened to me…exact same thing. Except I fell for it!?! I am so mad that I just seen this now after the call I am sick to my stomach worried if I am going to get scammed out of more money Idk what to do.

  10. I have been getting numerous calls a week at our business. I’ve had so many calls saying I NEED TO VERIFY MY BUSINESS. I finally took a call from a rep who called personally to advise me that she needed me to verify my business. It would be a one time fee of $189. for the business. She forwarded me Verification code that I was to call her back with the number so she could update our business listing. It turns out it is a company called ******. So far the information is less correct than the one I paid to Brand-Rep in 2016. Never could get that listing corrected at a cost of $295.95 US and $195.95 US a month for a minimum of 3 months and they took the money for six months before I catch on. How many more business are going to get scammed.

    This comment has been edited to remove identifiable information.

  11. After getting many calls per week i talked to them to see what it was all about. they represented themselves as Google and got my info. I had to ask twice to get the charge card recpt and when i did it was not from google, but from A-1 Merchants in Genmont NY. I am cancelling the charge and now not going to take any more calls from “google”

  12. Just got the call today. I pried for a callback numbernsomi could verify them. They danced around. Eventually forwarded me to a supervisor (guy calls me “rick”. I said no. He says to his phine guy “oh you said he’s a prick”). Lol. Obviously not legitimate if thats his idea of trying to secure a customer. Pried lots got some kl marketing name. Then he said i “wasn’t a buyer for their services”. I agreed and we both hung up.

  13. Just got off the phone from a guy who said my Google account was temporary, and would soon be deleted from Google. Really!? And for a fee of between $199-$299 I could get this fixed. I’m finding out those were cheep numbers. Another business owner in the area fell for it and paid over $800. I told him I would take my chances that Google was going to drop my account.

  14. The number that called me was ***. The ID says cellular call. (We don’t look at Caller ID when we answer and use it as a resource if there is a problem.) I received a call stating that after multiple attempts to verify our business, it was at a critical stage (robocall). I had some time so I pressed the 1 to verify. I first spoke with Takisha (sp?) who had most of our information already and mentioned that our Google business listing was unclaimed. It was difficult to hear her due to the background noise. I suspected that this might be a scam, but wanted to see how far it would go. Once asking for five key words for our listing, she said that she would transfer me to the verification area who would then tell me what my one time (lifetime) fee would be based on our key words. She stated that she did not have access to that information. I was transferred to Jennifer who informed me that the one-time, lifetime fee for our business would be $349.95 and offered to email a receipt to me. I told her that it was not in my budget as a small non-profit and I would have to talk with my officers. She asked when she could call back. I informed her she could try me next week. We’ll see if she calls back. After I hung up, I did some internet searches and found this article, as well as how to directly claim my business on Google. I verified my business through Google and received my code. Thank you for this article.

  15. The Company Name is ***

    Ps. They are all a Scam Did this for 3 years Worked for them and 4 other Companies did the same thing, all hire drug addicts that come to south fl. for recover say they will pay your rent just make sales and filter calls till you have a sucker on the line. Owners names are pat, rob, mike, jeff.

    This comment has been edited to remove identifiable information.

  16. I received a call on May 15, 2018 around 9:30 a.m. EST from ***. The recording claimed I have not claimed my Google business listing, yet I already have claimed and verified it. I pressed 1 to speak to a representative. Cody answered. I asked him for his company name, and he said ***. When asked if he worked for Google he said no. When I asked him how to log in to my business account, he said it was too hard to explain how to do it. Then he hung up. I called back, but that number does not ring.

    This comment has been edited to remove identifiable information.

    • I had a call ( in Canada ) Yesterday I paid $189 for a lifetime verification. Then they made an appointment to call back to verify all of our information. During the verification call I learned that there would be an initial fee of approximately $800 plus a monthly fee. I declined but they were very insistent and offered to lower the cost. Finally I convinced them that I was not interested and they gave up. However, I will be receiving a “postcard ” from Google with a PIN number. They said that it is very important that I tell them this PIN number when it arrives. Should I tell them the PIN number?

      • No, you should not. Instead, go to Google My Business and claim your own listing. Then when you get the pin number, claim it yourself.

        What they are trying to do is get you to give them the pin number so they can claim your listing, making them the owner of it. At that point, it is now their listing, not yours.

      • No way. They will control your account if you do that. Use the code yourself and you will be tho sole owner. Dead easy to do it yourself and it’s FREE !

  17. If you list your business on the actual Google Business page, you will get hard copies of stuff in the mail with codes where they will then ask you to confirm it online. I had 1 call from them (Google actual) and they referenced the stuff I had gotten in the mail from them, along with the sticker for the window of the business.

    So for others coming here, Google *may* call you to verify info you’ve entered (like your phone number), but they won’t ask for money nor will they use the shady practices listed above.

  18. Just found out today that my business partner had been dealing with “Google” for approx. two months now and she explained that a “Certified Google Manager” at this company was trying to “get our business on Google” and get us onto the first page of Google search results. My partner had already paid $150 by credit card for “getting our business on Google”. First off, I “got our business on Google” two years ago myself, and pay for a Google Ad monthly. I was suspicious, so my partner gets our so-called Certified Google Manager to call me. My first question was (1) Do you work for Google or some other company A: Some other (marketing) company. Then he explained he had been working with my business partner for 2+ months and that *he/they had got our business on Google*. (Outright lie). Then, while on the phone, he searched “our business type” in “our city” and told me how bad our search rank was. I explained to said scammer person that our business is highly location dependent and can only serve a small service area “aka radius” around our operating location. The idea that he thought we needed to be first on “business type” in “our city” showed he had no clue how to market our company. On relevant search terms I have investigated, my company shows up along with only 2 others businesses in a 10 mile radius. Also, we’re on page 1 of search results (and map search results) when a “near me” search or location limited search is performed. We have a number of great Google reviews, and most new customers tell me they “found us on Google”. This company did NONE of this – it was already in place. These guys are out of New York and have a range of hundreds of sequential numbers. Now I’m upset because I tore into my business partner who was only trying to help.

    • It’s scary how bad they trick you into thinking they work for Google. It’s funny, they makeup the term of “Certified Google Manager” or say they are a “Certified Google My Business Professional”. Neither of those exists. Google offers certification for their AdWords (PPC) and Analytics services but not for Google My Business. I am glad you were able to stop this process before you were scammed. Educate other business owners and spread the word to help protect others.

  19. I have a company that’s called me every day for the last three weeks. I have turned the tables and I continue to harass their representatives every time until they hang up on me. them

  20. Thanks for posting this.

    Sometimes I get about five calls a day. I usually never answer because I’ve an phone app that identifies scam calls. Generally, they are spoofing a number similar to mine, i.e., they have the same Area code. To gather more information, I called a few back. Oddly, one person simply asked, “Can I help you.” Knowing this was a scam beforehand (I run an online reputation management consultancy), I was surprised when I repeated that I’d like help on how to claim my business on Google. Quickly, they hung up. I called again, and was disconnected immediately. I tried several more times with the same result. I’m not sure why this happened.

    My next strategy, based on some of the comments above, is to get someone on the line for as long as possible, pretending to ask questions and fain interest in their service. After several of these, perhaps I would be determined to be not a good prospect, ending the calls.

  21. For over 2 months we’ve been receiving these calls, they’ve now upped their game and have a different call coming in asking if we’re tired of receiving the calls about our Google listing …at this point, I hang up the phone, but they are incessant.

  22. I got completely taken by a Google My Business scam out of Florida. I am in Canada. I made a stop payment and reported them as a scam to my bank, however I digitally signed a contract with them that also binds me to a monthly fee.
    Please advise how I can get out of this..
    Thank you,

  23. I have had thousands of these calls,as many as a dozen a day at times.
    I normally immediately hang up and block the number but sometimes I will listen to their spiel,ask questions, and keep them on as long as possible..When the get to the payment part I tell them “That sounds like a great deal,hold on,let me get my credit card” and put the phone down until they hang up.I have had them stay on as long as 10 minutes….If thousands of people did this it would cost them I would think.

    • Don’t do that! I know a woman who runs a bridal shop and she did the exact same thing, Within half an hour, she had 13 bad google reviews online about her business! These people are not only sneaky, but also potentially vindictive.

      • If fear of unwarranted reprisal is truly a concern, Google may want to review aspects of its My Business controls and policies before the value of their listing service is dismissed by the business community.

  24. these people have been calling for months, actually years. it does’t matter what i say to them that my google listing is in order and i do not need a correction. i have asked them to take me off there do not call list, but they still continue to call, i am sure it is automated so i wait till some one comes on the phone to speak and by the time they realize that i know what they are doing they simply hang up but then they will call again. i have been running a small business for almost thirty years and it seems that the technology that we have would be able to find and prosecute these people, at least trac them through their own phones. it is very annoying and disruptive to have these phone calls during the course of a business day. it seems no one is watching the real ball.

  25. Thank you for your article. I never respond to phone solicitations. BUT wait, I don’t want my business removed from Google Maps! So I listened and asked questions while pulling up my listing on my computer. He said that I should see that it has not been verified. After I told him that I did not see what he saw he said, “I see it right here, I’m looking at it.” I did not pay for his service.
    Interestingly, in the background, I could here another man who must have been another doubting “customer” because he had raised his voice and seemed to be very frustrated.
    Now I am armed for the next time I am in an argumentative mood.
    Thanks again.

    • I am so happy you didn’t fall for their scam. Good luck on that next call when you are in an argumentative mood. 🙂

  26. Thanks for this Chris. I’ve been getting calls for eons (and always either ignore or press the number to get off their list – supposedly). After a different style of call yesterday I decided to investigate a little further in case I was missing something I should be doing. Your article clarified a number of things. Your comment about the Do Not Call list made me nervous because I thought that if I used that it might reduce legitimate calls. However, thinking about the DNC list further I realized that anybody who wants to contact me for legitimate business reasons, and who probably got my number from a contact form on the website, isn’t making robocalls. So, even though it’s not likely to do much good, using the DNC list should do no harm.

    • Mike, you are correct. DNC protects you from unsolicited calls. That means if you are on the list, I can’t cold call you. However, if we had an existing business relationship or if you requested a call from me, then I would be allowed to call you. The big problem is, most of these places are not actually respecting the DNC list. This is why you should make sure you get their actual company name and file a complaint if they call you and you are on the DNC.

  27. We’ve been receiving these calls forever, so I decided to finally talk to someone to see if I could get them to stop. After verifying all my info, the guy promises me that for $149/month for (3) months that we can be the top searched company when certain key words were input. I said no thanks and then he started berating me and getting super nasty. I hung up on him.

    • Great job on saying no. Yes, they can get very nasty when they realize you are not falling for their scam.

  28. Yep we get these calls for our business daily. Just talked to one that said if I would just give 5 minutes of my time to hear someone out I would realize how important it was to verify our business on Google. I asked if I could just do it myself and they reluctantly said yes but they strongly do not recommend it as they have a team of engineers to do it right. If I enter something wrong it can’t be fixed. I asked the name of their business which I googled while we were talking. I asked why they have no business website and he said it was a new company and have not been able to do that yet (even though they have a team of engineers). Also tried to Google “keywords” and the company still didn’t pull up. So, I would guess fake name and of course the company is not “verified” which is funny since that’s the service they are trying to sell me.

  29. Just had another one of these google calls. I am tired enough to not even consider the legitimate google to do business with. A giant corporation should have the means to stop others from impersonation and scamming current and potential customers as it appears we are powerless and they do not care. The do not call registry also appears to be a place people can go and feel like they have done something but they dont stop them either. I chose option one and asked the girl on the other end how she can work for a scammer. Her answer “I make more money than you do”. LOL. Who are these people.

    • Google actually does fight these companies. They are suing them in courts. Many of these companies are smart enough to not actually say officially that they are Google but are able to make it you think they are. With many, if you ask if they are with Google, they will tell you they are not and they are a third party. However, Google has launched a new effort to stop these companies. You can report them to google at this form.

        • That form is to report companies that are misrepresenting Google, third-parties that repeatedly call or robocall, third-parties that are demanding money to either claim your listing or keep your listing active. How is the form abusive? It’s only abusive towards those that are violating Google’s policy.

  30. ******* is another one here in Boca Raton.. Total garbage.. Boiler room, they sell GMB listing setups to painters, roofers any local business that is hustling and doesn’t understand it takes 5 minutes to set up… They charge 399 which is the absolute max a credit processor willl allow for this service.

  31. Recevied a similar call. They called repeatedly for several hours. As marketing director, I called back.

    I would state the name of the Florida business claiming fraudulently to represent google but DDL policy is not to post names or phone numbers.

    Rep was adament that the offer was legit. I exposed to her the fraudulent aspects of her claims. I recommended to the caller that unemployment is very low and they could probably find a job in a legitimate call center.

    • It’s crazy that these companies continue to operate. They ride a fine line of what is legal, however, luckily Google is now going after these companies. My understanding is they have already started lawsuits against 4 of them and have setup a form to have the public report these call centers.
      I do wish I could allow names to be posted, however, when we did allow it, we outranked one of the companies who contacted us demanding their name be taken down because we were outranking their “legitimate SEO company” who according to their calls and website only do Google Business Listing scams. They then asked us how to increase their SEO rankings since it was so easy for us to outrank them. Our reply was “You say you’re an SEO company, you should easily be able to outrank my one small blog article that mentions your name only once”.

  32. Thanks for article. Nice to read comments and know for sure that these calls are bs. Just had one tell me they are certified reps for google yahoo and bing and that they see inconsistencies with my listing and want to help. How nice! As I hesitantly answered some questions I’d ask who are you and what company are you with again? She was so smooth I can’t even tell you what she said exactly lol. I just hung up.

    • Yeah, I get these calls a few times a month and always ask them what program they are certified under. Being a real Google Certified Adwords person, I know there is NO certification for Google My Business. If you do ever get their info, report them to Google.

  33. ********** has been calling me non stop so today I called back and they told me my domain hasn’t been claimed when I told them Google sent me a card and pin they told me that was 4 yrs ago all I could do is laugh bc it was 2 weeks ago secondly I couldn’t understand the person so I knew it was total bs

  34. You are painting all people who offer to manage google map listing as scammers. That makes you a fraud youself.

    • These companies that are calling and using fear tactics to sell the management services are painting the bad picture. There is nothing wrong if you hire a company to manage your Google My Business listing. Even our company has local SEO packages where we will manage your listing and optimize your listing. We even assist you in claiming your listing if you need help with that process. The difference is, you come to us, we don’t have a call center that does outbound calls telling people lies and telling them we are “Authorized by Google” and that they MUST pay us to claim their listing. That is what is fraudulent. In the article above, we even mention that there are legitimate companies that can manage your GMB listing.

    • Henry. What in the world in this article and all these comments would make you make such a ridiculous statement? This article has and will help many new business owners that would otherwise not realize what’s going on. Wow

  35. I’ve had calls, ironically on a google phone number, for years. I suspected they were scams, so I just ignored them. I “googled” “verify your business with Google” today and found this article. However, I encountered a bit more irony when I attempted to report the call to Google. I completed all of the required fields, but it would not let me submit the form until I put in a website url for my business and for the scam caller business. I don’t have a url for the scammer, so I had to put in something (how about http://www.google.com?). There was no mention of google maps, although the report form somewhat indicates that is the issue. Here is the VM left by the scammer: “Hello, please don’t hang up. We’ve called numerous times to verify your business with Google. Our records show that your business is not verified, press one now, so we can verify your business with Google. If you’re the business owner, press one now. If your account is not verified customer searching for your services on Google will not find your listing. Press one now to verify your listing, press two to be removed from this list.”

    • Interesting. I did notice the same thing when I tried to report one. Seems like Google is trying to take a step to help report these but needs to improve their process on their side some.

  36. I have a different take on this thread, I too received a call from ****** many months ago and spoke with a lovely young woman ********; who was very helpful kind transparent and informative, I was told they were NOT Google at all that they were a data management & SEO company that sets up and helps business owners with their listings, she proceeded to ask me questions relevant to my listing and quoted me a one time fee of 399 which I semi-reluctantly paid only to be pleasantly surprised I have undoubtedly receive(d) more calls and work from customers who find me on Google My rankings have skyrocketed as have my reviews I’m quite happy I chose to hire them that day they’ve yet to disappoint always available friendly professional and obliging I would 10/10 recommend

    • Glad to hear they are playing more by the rules. Unfortunately, most of these companies are not. We will be releasing a video in the next few weeks that will walk businesses through the simple process to claim these listings themselves free of charge, along with tips to optimize the listing for search.

  37. Total Scam. When they call, which is several times a day, I play along and say “that sounds great. Let me get my Credit Card” This after the price has changed 3 times in 1 minute. Then I just put the phone down, continue working, and wait to see how long before they hang up. A couple of times, the guy called me back and wondered what had happened. I told him again “hang on, let me get my credit card”……put the phone down and waited. I figure if they are on the phone with me getting tortured, they can’t be ripping off someone else

  38. I Just said we were getting ready to close the company so it wouldnt matter anyway.. they politely said okay and goodbye.. nothing else they could say =D

  39. It doesn’t even matter for the companies who do play by the rules anymore. Threads like these who constantly bash these companies are part of the problem. The lies and deception is obviously the issue, but what about the good guys? Do they deserve to get bundled in with the rest of them?

    • We are one of the “Good Guys” and we do have part of our higher-end services where we will assist you in claiming your listing. This article has not hurt our business services side. This article is aimed at those who cold call businesses and skirt by making the customer think they are speaking with Google. I still get these calls weekly and I give the company a chance but many times they lie. They state that I can’t claim my own listing, they state that Google will not talk to me as a small business and they state you must go through them in order to claim back your listing. This is all lies. Yes, there are “Good Guys” out there, we are one of them. But, the “Good Guys” will never call you, will never tell you that they have to do it, will never register it under their own account. They will assist you in registering it under your own account so that you have control of it forever.

      • Sorry Chris. Was asking the guy above my question. The one asking about the “good guys” . Google him. Pretty funny that he would say what he said.

  40. It’s beyond me why anyone with enough intelligence to run a business would need a third party to verify their Google listing. It’s so easy that a fifth grader with a smartphone could do it.

    Yet apparently, there are naive business owners who fall for this scam. You deserve kudos Chris, for helping them by creating this page. Your detractors are obviously part of the problem; i.e. “scammers”.

    • Appreciate it. We are working on an updated step-by-step article and video to walk business owners through the easy steps to claim their listing. The difficulty is Google often changes steps so keeping it up to date is the biggest problem.

      I wouldn’t call it an intelligence issue. There are many types of businesses out there. My grandma owned her own company up till her passing that was ceramics. She barely understood how to log onto the internet and even thought Google was the internet. So if she got a call from “Google” saying her business was being removed, I could see her falling for it. I just hope this article helps educate the public that these scams do exist.

  41. I, too, have been receiving these robo-calls forever!! My caller ID doesn’t work so I don’t know who’s calling, or if they would even have a traceable number. I tried to complete the form to send to Google and because I couldn’t answer a couple of the unasterisked questions (because I never had a Google Business listing), it rejected my submissions. Is there any other way to report these calls to Google? Maybe I should report them to my state Attorney General.

  42. I just got this call today to get my company verified only after trying to do it online with google. They were super friendly until it came time to ask for money, trying to make me feel super dumb and saying that “in the 17 years that I’ve been doing this NOBODY has ever asked for verification! We are the biggest company on the planet, you get a verification email only after with an invoice…” it was a “one time deal” and I would have to pay full price if I called back. I told him that I would have to think about it, he screamed “YOU F*CKING IDIOT” into the phone and hung up on me 😀

  43. Thank you for the site unfortunately for us it was a little too late. My husband and I run a small busines (old school) and simply do not have a lot of knowledge with computers and technology. We were having a website made up when the Google call came in saying that nobody could find us online. We were concerned and unfamiliar with how things work like to think we are not lacking intelligence!!! Just simply not knowing, and trusting people to do the right thing. The company said they were based out of Florida everything the exact same as the other comments. **** was Woman who claimed to be in charge of our account. Again thank you for this site I only wish I had found it earlier. Some people just suck.

  44. I keep receiving these voice messages so I too clicked 1, and during my call came upon your article. When asked for a company name, number, or e-mail so I could report it to Google, she claimed she could not provide that information but said they represent Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I demanded they never call my business line again and to remove our number from their listing. But can this number they called from be fake? I am submitting a complaint to Google now.

  45. After about a half dozen “push 2 to be removed from our call list” I decided to push 1 and talk to a real person. Representative comes on the line after a bit of a hold… I say, “Hey! I’m a bit frus..” CLICK Hung up. Learned my lesson so next time I was super sweet and nice and talked to a friendly representative who said she’d take care of removing us from the call list. Well they called again and I was patient and when I asked what the name of their company was they said “BLS” So what does that stand for I asked…CLICK. That’s when I decided to do a little research and found your site with similar testimonials. I got my number added to the National Do Not Call list and looking at some other options that you shared. Thanks for the information!
    Regards,
    Doug

  46. Thank you. I have been getting these daily and always hang up. But finally decided to see if it’s on the web. Pleased to see that your article came up first thing!

  47. people always call stuff a scam when there is a “fee” involved yes you can do it for free and there are legitimate company’s that do this the business owner owns the listing the legit companies set it up on a second appt. visa vie a screen share and help with maintenance and support no different then getting your car fixed you can fix your own car for free but yet you pay someone for a service. why is a one time service fee any different then what the mechanic charges you for a free service if you find a legit company you are hiring someone to do something you can do but it a convenience, the business owner can focus on what they do best. rather then SEO fyi. the guy who started this. site is the same type of company who does same service you can do for free and charges for it?? a legit company will tell you there company name direct you to there website explain services thoroughly, and send you an electronic reciept with legal document disclosures

    • I agree with you that there are legit companies out there. As part of our other services, we will assist our own clients with claiming their listing if they are unable to do so on their own.

      The scam comes from the way many of these companies present themselves. They make outbound “robo” calls that state that “Your Google Listing has expired” or some other “scary” thing. They then get on and tell you that they are calling on behalf of Google, or that they are Google Business Listing certified (not a real thing) or some other statement to make the average person think they are associated with Google. They then go on to tell you that you have to pay them in order to get your listing back because it expired. I have had several (yes, when they call me I go through the whole thing just to see what new tactics they are using) tell me when I ask if I can just claim it myself tell me that Google does not work with small businesses and that I have to use someone like them in order to claim my listing. That is a straight lie. They offer marketing services but when you look at their services they only offer the claiming of your listing and nothing else.

      So yes, there are legit SEO companies out there that will claim your listing as part of their overall strategy, but, this article is about the ones that are trying to scam others.

  48. I paid ****** ******* in NJ $900.00 and &$90.00 a month to list me on Google. I sell an art book, Color wheel and APP on my website. Is this a scam? Do I walk away or are they lagit?

    • It’s hard to say if they are legit or not without knowing what services they are offering you. If they are offering SEO services, make sure they are increasing your rankings for the keywords you want to rank for. If not, then you may want to find someone else. At $90 a month, it’s hard to believe they are actually doing true SEO as SEO takes a decent bit of work to perform. If all they are doing is claiming your listing, then yes, there is no reason to pay a monthly fee as the claiming process is free and once claimed there is no additional maintenance needed on it.

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AUTHOR

Chris Edwards

Chris is Co-Owner of Data Driven Labs and a 17-year internet marketing expert in web design & development, SEO, digital marketing, and analytics. He often speaks at conferences around the world on everything WordPress and analytics.

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