Google has a variety of free tools for business owners. Being so accessible comes at a cost. Creating a Google Business Profile is essential business growth. With one search, it allows your clients to find your business contact and location on Google Maps. Although, a Google Business Account comes with many responsibilities. A Google account needs monitoring and maintaining. Even more now than ever, because of the abundant user issues and fraudsters. The growing issue of scam emails are obvious in this lengthy Google thread.
In this blog, we are going to reveal these issues for business owners. Additionally, we will aide you on how to protect your Google Business Profile from these scathing marketing tactics.
Google Business Profile owners are experiencing forcible takeover of their Google Business Profiles. An influx of users are experiencing issues with Google Maps and account listings. Business addresses are disappearing! Account ownership is being transferred! This is not a glitch on Google. This is due to hostile marketing and scamming. Competitors and hackers are taking Google Business Profiles hostage. Although, Google is in part responsible. Consider that much of Google runs through AI. Google doesn’t know who is hostile or legitimate.
Google allows its users to be capable of changing your business information. Information including your company location, phone number, and business category altered or deleted. This begins with a Google user suggesting an edit. It proceeds by the business owner not rejecting the edit within the allotted time. Also, users can gain access to the entire account by requesting ownership. With control of your account scammers may try to extort you for money.
Anyone being able to change your information or ownership is scary. If someone gains such access to your profile, they can destroy and dissolve your business. They can also put your clients at risk or in danger. In one instance, a woman hired a repairman but instead scammers came to her home. This happened because of unauthorized edits to the business’ phone number.
Anyone on Google can use the “suggest an edit” feature. Like Wikipedia, other Google users are free to contribute to public data. Its intended purpose is to keep content updated as possible through other users’ feedback. Also, to fight spam by allowing the community to remove duplicate, fake or ghost profiles.
But hostile competitors have been using this to their gain. They do this by editing and/or deleting business information. Your business listings’ categories, addresses and phone numbers are all targets. Consider your Google business listing without your address, categories or phone number. Your clients have no way to find you in one search and click. Now imagine having a client go to the wrong address. Also, other users can suggest that your location is forever closed for business. Editing in the wrong hands is detrimental to your local SEO and business performance.
If someone edits your business information, you will receive a “Google Update”. If you do not respond within a couple days, Google accepts the requests and/or edits.
NOTE: You only have a limited time to reject the edits. It is important to check your Gmail account associated with your business listing. Check it at least every other day. If you get an alert, it is always a high priority to respond. Look for “Google updates”.
The intended purpose of being able to claim a business on Google is for the actual business owners. Also, to allow for third-party maintenance of business listings. But other users can commit the unethical marketing scheme known as Google phishing. This involves clicking “own this business?” on a profile. This link generates an email request sent to the register profile owner. Often, profile owners miss this message. After three days, the user requesting ownership is capable of gaining verification. You can report phishing to Google here.
In essence, holding your Google account listing hostage. Then, scammers may use the account to extort you. They can contact your advisors and direct them to other pages. They can also sell and rename or rent your listing. All of these destroy the listings and possible networks of reputable business owners.
Reasons for multiple Google Business Listings vary. Losing access or being targeted is the common culprit. As said by another Google user, you (and some friends) should report the illegitimate location as permanently closed.
Protecting your google profile will take a combination of efforts. Above all, being active with monitoring your Google Business Profile.
Here is a list of ways you can protect your Google account:
Two pairs of eyes can see more than one. If business is booming managing all by yourself is difficult. You may have just created your business account and/or want to add coworkers. You might just need a vacation. Whatever the reason, you need to add some managers to your Google Account. Managers will have access to updating and monitoring the account.
It is important to note that only the primary owner can accept edits to primary business information.
Search up your business to view it and find the three vertical dots. Clicking this will reveal a drop-down menu. From the menu, select “Business Profile Settings”. From here you can select to add managers. Make sure their permission is set to “manager” and not “owner” before granting access.
Of course, having your business information changed stifles your business performance. Being locked out of your Google Business Account is a nightmare. The loopholes for hackers on Google will not dissolve without Google’s intervention. Until then, make sure to remain active on your Google Business Profile. Always read emails from Google! Ignoring it could cause you a lot more trouble. Inaccurate business information online is well, bad for business.
If you suspect that someone has gained access to your google account, check your verification status. You can also contact Google immediately and file a report. If you notice incorrect altering of another Google Business Profile’s listing, file a complaint. If you are facing a scam involving your account, report it to Google.