Google is not calling you

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Have you gotten a robocall at work, telling you that you have to take action or your Google business listing will be removed? Or maybe even marked as permanently closed? That kind of thing could be tough for a business — if the threat was real. But those calls are not legit—and not from Google.

The FTC just filed a lawsuit against Point Break Media and others, saying they made just those kinds of calls. According to the complaint, people who believed the calls and then spoke to a live telemarketer were told that they could avoid the problem by paying a fee (up to $700). When people paid this fee, the scammers then allegedly targeted them with offers for even more expensive services that would supposedly improve Google search results.  Of course, nobody making those calls is affiliated with Google. And businesses can — for free — manage their own Google business listing.

In this case, the scammers targeted music instructors, house painting companies, car dealerships, and other small businesses. They knew that appearing in online searches is crucial for those businesses, and threatening that connection with customers might make people act before stopping to think.

If you get a call like this, don’t press any buttons. Don’t call the number back, and don’t engage. That just encourages the scammers. The best thing to do? Immediately hang up the phone, and then talk about it with your colleagues or employees. Let them know that:

  • Scammers pretend to be someone you trust. They pretend to be connected with a company you know or a government agency
  • Scammers create a sense of urgency. They want you to rush and make a quick decision without considering options.
  • Scammers use intimidation and fear. It’s okay to hang up the phone and confirm what’s really going on before taking any action.

Then, sign up for the FTC’s Business Blog (FTC.gov/Subscribe), which will keep you up to date on what’s happening at the FTC, and how it affects your business. Also, check out FTC.gov/SmallBusiness. Knowing about scams that target small businesses will help you protect yours.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Comments

I received several calls recently. I let them leave a messages, I don't answer the phone. But these calls were from the IRS and if I did not call back they were sending the police to put me in jail. Hahaha. Of course I never called back.

I just had a call the other day about my business listing. I am facing ID theft and as of rite now, I AM OVERWHELMEND.

You can report identity theft at IdentityTheft.gov and get help to recover from problems caused by the theft. You can create a personal plan, get checklists to track what you need to do, and use the site's fillable forms and letters to send to businesses to explain what happened.

Why do we have to have number spoofing at all why not have the number your calling from and ID listed on the caller id. If this was eliminated then we would know who is calling and could protect ourselves. Get with it FTC protect our phones,time, and nerves and get the phone companies to accept responsibility even to a class action suit.

Hear. Hear. I get 7-16 calls a day. Where is the protection? What can we do besides only answer calls that leave a message? I rely on calls from potential customers, and feel that if I don't answer, they are afraid to leave a message.

I am really glad to hear that FTC is going after these scammers. I get calls from them daily often from area codes all over the nation. And sometimes deceptively from local area codes.

Thank you for pursuing these crooks!

I’ve been receiving these calls for a couple months now. I just hang up. Problem is the number changes constantly coming from all over the country. As a business, it’s hard to ignore calls. So annoying.

I have saved every one of those robocall numbers in a special Contacts file called xScamGoogle. I have over 500 saved "xScamGoogle contacts" . It got so bad that, receiving at least 50 calls per weeks which I'd ignored meaning that I stopped answering the phone if I didn't recognize the caller- most calls were spoofed using local area codes or cell phone area codes which could well have been prospective customers, 90% of whom don't like taking time to leave voice mail, they'll call back. In the past 6 mo. I began taking the calls to see who are these callers- 75% were "Google Business Listing" robo calls to whom I informed whenever possible that I was, in fact, out of business & asked to remove my listing. The calls have almost stopped. I have numbers saved & i know when not to answer xScam contacts. Blocking them is useless, they have workarounds & w/only 300 slots, I ran out of them in 30 days. Those slots are now freed up for credit card scams and such. If the FTC wants my phone list of fake google callers, I'm happy to provide.

I've started to write down the numbers as well over the past couple of weeks the fake callers have gotten worse being a business we can't not answer the phone. They are taking time out of our work day and potentially holding up regular customers by holding up our phone line. I've even reported some that call everyday.

problem is the Do not call list sells your info to companies i never had a solicitor EVER call me until i sign up for the Do Not Call List in one week had 7 calls At al hours Thanks.

I got out the instruction book for my landline phone, turned to Call Block. I have been able to block unwanted callers by following the instructions for same. Have had much success, they try once more and when they realize they're blocked, bye bye.

So we just ignore them and they get to continue doing it??

So we just ignore them

Yep, I believe that's the plan.

We get these calls constantly; several a day. We've gotten to the point we guess whether it's a robo-call based on the caller id before we answer. It really is an inconvenience to be interrupted from your work for such nonsense.

Yep, It's aggravating that you get them and they just keep calling and calling to the point you almost don't want to answer your business phone without looking at the caller ID to decided if it's a customer or not.

I've been getting such calls for quite some time now, and I don't even have an active seller's permit. I haven't ever done a thing about such calls but hang up. Should I report such calls to the FTC Do Not Call Registry?

I have been getting call stating that if don't send pay the money that I owed the police will pick me up.

My place of Business receives calls claiming to be from Google Listings & AT&T all the time sometimes several within a busy business day. Being a business we can't guess weather or not a unknown or private number is the scammers or a serious customer it is getting quit annoying . Because they are using local area codes as the caller ID number which makes it very confusing. I've written down and marked some of the numbers that call daily but they just keep changing and adding more.

Me too. When I do answer, and find out it is a garbage call, I enter them into the phone with a caller ID that is junk or garbage. However, as we all know, there are several that subscribe to the service that scrambles the phone numbers to keep us guessing.

I have friends in Idaho and Utah, but don't answer any calls from those states, nor Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, or NY.

Remove call spoofing, require caller Id to list company name and number and we could eliminate this time consuming,aggravation for businesses. Also require that the phone companies can be sued and take financial responsibility for the lost time in answering calls.

I find it sad that a lot of the comments blame the FTC or someone else, but don't put the blame on the thief calling from over-seas. Yes, it annoying and really bothersome as a business, but put blame where it should be! Not so long ago it was some weirdo breathing hard we had issues with. Get over it. Deal with it and just hang up like you would one of those old school prank calls.

Sometimes I like to prank the regular fake callers that I have marked in the phone as a fake caller from AT&T or Google. I'll play hold music in their ears it makes them quite annoyed and they hang up but it's funny if they call you while you have a customer with you in person they get a laugh and you cheer someone up. But, If I have a live serious customer on the phone I won't leave that call to answer the fake ones call waiting or not.

Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it. I am too embarrassed to ask for help and I don't want my family to know those thieves from Nigeria were posing as an American with american phone numbers and address and email.

The common thread I see here is the "shuffled phone number service", which puts out any other phone number but the one they are dialing from.

That is a service to scammers, and should be removed.

Personally, I am all about Freedom; however, I am talking about the personal Freedom of the person on the other side of the scammers phone call.

This "service" should be shut down, the right of scammers to lie, cheat, and steal should never take precedence over the American Citizen's Right to not receive a veiled caller ID to mask the scammer's "right" to lie, cheat, and steal from us honest citizens.
BTW, foreigners do not have the "rights" left to a true American Citizen, and in the most base case, have no right to use American technology to Lie, Cheat, and steal from American Citizens.

Perhaps this phone number caller ID shuffling service is not in America at all. Wouldn't surprise me.

The ftc has done nothing to stop this i moved my no to google voice and it does a good job of detecting these scams. But the caller id sysyem is broken and the fcc needs to demand a new secure

Username says it all... I heard blowing a loud whistle into the receiver, on a live call will deter he/she from calling back, I have not tried this, but it is a thought.

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