This new scam can seriously affect a business’ reputation. If you own a company, watch out for scammers trying to steal your Google Business Profile — along with all the good reviews you worked so hard to get.
How the scam works
When you search for a business in Google, information about that company will typically appear in the right sidebar. This is called a Google Business Profile. Alongside basic information, such as address, phone number, and operating hours, there’s a link enabling the business owner to claim and edit the profile. Unfortunately, it’s also an opportunity for scammers.
Scammers click the “Own this business?” link, which sends a request email to the current owner. If you or someone in your company approves this request, thinking it is legitimate, the scammer can take over your profile. They will likely change the name of your business and lock you out of the account.
Scammers then use this new business profile, with all of your reviews, to fool consumers into contacting them. Scam locksmiths commonly use this technique. If your business profile is stolen, you’ll need to go through a process with Google support to reclaim your profile. In the meantime, your profile may have received bad reviews or been altered by scammers.
How to protect your Google Business Profile
- Reject suspicious ownership requests. Stop scammers in their tracks by rejecting unauthorized attempts to claim your business profile immediately. If you aren’t sure if a member of your staff is behind the request, find out before you accept it.
- Check your email and any alerts you receive from Google in a timely fashion. Scammers are counting on you not noticing strange activity on your profile. When initially verifying your account, be sure to use an email that you check regularly.
- Contact Google support if your account gets hijacked. Regain control of your stolen account through Google’s support team. Fill out this form on Google to start the reclaiming process.
- Always report fraudulent activity. Report any problems to Google immediately. You can also report your experience at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report will help other businesses stay alert to similar threats.
For more information
Read up on the power of customer reviews. Learn more about scams targeting small businesses.
If you’ve spotted a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker, even if you didn’t fall victim or lose any money. Your report can help others avoid common scam tactics.
Stay up to date on the latest scams by subscribing to BBB’s weekly Scam Alerts email. Learn how to spot a scam at BBB.org/SpotaScam.