Have you received an automated robocall that sounds something like:
“Hi, this is Julie, your local Google Specialist. Your business listing is about to expire … “
I’m not sure what “Julie” says next because I hang up and so should you. These calls are scams to claim or protect your free business listing (and rip you off in the meantime). The operators will claim they are Google representatives. Simply put, Google does not cold call about business listings. In fact, Google doesn’t call you at all unless you request them to.
Anyone can claim their free Google My Business listing. It’s not rocket science.
Robocalls Are Illegal (Mostly)
According to the FTC:
A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless a company has your written permission to call you that way. To get your permission, the company has to be clear it’s asking to call you with robocalls and it can’t make you agree to the calls to get a product or service. If you give permission, you have the right to change your mind later.
A few types of robocalls are allowed under FTC rules without your permission, like political calls about candidates running for office or charities asking for donations.
Internet powered phone systems are making it easy for scammers to make these illegal calls from anywhere and hide behind fake caller IDs. The FTC has an initiative to stop (or slow down) robocalls. To date, the FTC has brought over 100 lawsuits against over 600 companies that are responsible for billions of unwanted, illegal phone calls.
How Do I Identify Robocalls?
First, listen. If it sounds recorded, it’s a robocall. We’ve cautioned you about fake Google scammers, but there are often other keywords or phrases scammers use in automated recording. Scammers will use exaggerated claims, (fake) prizes and (fake) incentives that can lure unsuspecting people into saying, “yes”.
Here’s some of the phrases scammers will use:
You've been specially selected (for this offer).
- Get a free bonus if you buy our product.
- This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else.
- You have to make up your mind right away.
- You trust me, right?
- You don't need to check our company with anyone.
- We'll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card.
Go with your instincts. If you didn’t ask for the call or their products and services, it’s unwanted. Click.
You Can Fight Robocalls
No one, not even the FTC, can promise a 100% stop to scam robocalls. Although, you can fight back, even if it’s just a little.
Who Do You Trust?
If you are getting a pitch from a live human being, ask questions. Have them direct you to their website. Better yet, have them send you an email with more details. Hold back your “yes” to their offer. Take time to consider who it is and their reputation. Balance that with the value you are getting.
If you are looking for help making the most of your free Google My Business listing, contact Foremost Media. We are humans, not robots!