Unfortunately, the opportunity for fraudulent activity continues to run rampant on the Internet. Like a good Scout, it’s best to always be prepared.
Clients have come to us after receiving concerning emails in their inbox that someone is attempting to access their Google Business Profile (GBP). The emails come directly from Google, so they’re legitimate. The claims of ownership, however, are clearly bogus attempts at thievery from scammers or bots.
Here’s the most important thing to remember if this happens to you: Don’t ignore the request. Google could inadvertently take your silence as permission and grant access. And there goes all of your hard work down the drain.
If you receive a request for ownership regarding your GBP, it’s best to click on the “Review Request” button. From here, you will be asked to approve or decline access. You will be prompted to give a reason for the rejection. Simply say that the individual attempting to obtain ownership is an unknown and in no way associated with your company.
You must deny the request promptly. Google allows 7 days for the current listing owner to reply – that’s you. If you do not respond within that time frame, the fraudulent party may be able to claim the listing for themselves.
Google does note that rejections can be appealed. But take heart: your account is now safe, and you are on the side of right.
Claiming a currently owned GBP account does have its place with upstanding business professionals. For example, a former employee may have created the profile before leaving your company – and now you have to retrieve it. It’s an above-board, completely legit scenario that happens all the time. Unfortunately, whenever and wherever scammers can find an angle to exploit, they will be there with bells on.
In the meantime, we recommend taking some simple steps to reinforce your GBP account.
- Be sure your GBP information is current and accurate to facilitate better communication with Google.
- Change your Gmail password and set up 2-factor authentication to bolster your defenses.
- Be diligent about monitoring emails related to your GBP account. Review them daily. Don’t let the scammers slip through the cracks.
Follow up with your digital marketing partner whenever something seems awry. We’re here to help.