LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — There’s a new scam that 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.
Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “A lot of people use Google so Google has set up Google business profiles so when you look for a business, you come across a Google profile… It just has basic information about the business, address, where they’re located, phone number, maybe an email and website. Businesses have the opportunity to claim that business profile and add more information, but we know scammers have been taking advantage of this as well.”
Alongside the business’ information, there’s a link enabling the business owner to claim and edit the profile. Unfortunately, it’s also an opportunity for scammers.
“Basically, what they’re doing is going find Google business profiles like any consumer can do and they’re clicking on the links and pretending as though they are the owners of those business so they can take over and edit all of the information on the profile,” explained Babin.
Scammers click the link which sends a request email to the current owner. If you approve this request, thinking it’s legitimate, the scammer can take over your profile.
“The businesses that fall victim to this scam are the ones that aren’t really paying attention to the emails they might get from Google because when somebody goes to a profile to claim it, it is going to send a verification email to the business on record asking them if they would like to claim the profile or if they did claim the profile,” added Babin. “If they don’t respond to that or haphazardly click the link and don’t pay attention to it, they could be giving a scammer access to their business profile.”
The scammer could potentially change the name of your business and lock you out of your account.
Here’s how you can protect your Google business profile:
- Reject suspicious ownership requests.
- Check your email and alerts you receive from Google.
- Contact Google Support if your account gets hijacked.
- Always report fraudulent activity.
If you have a scam you would like Sylvia to investigate, send her an email at email@example.com.