Amid a growing number of scams involving individuals that claim to work for Google, the search giant has now introduced new measures and a list of best practices to help businesses stay safe. Citing a case leveled earlier in May against Point Break Media, LLC, Google has decided that the time has come to take legal action. In particular, the company hopes to address problems related to phone calls and emails received by businesses and individuals that are completely fraudulent. It's starting by taking legal action against Point Break Media and Supreme Marketing Group, Inc. after the companies tried to scam small businesses into shelling out money in exchange for search engine optimization. Beyond that, the company says it has developed new techniques, both automated and manual, for identifying account holders linked to scams. It's also updated its own policies, allowing for Google accounts that fit the bill to be limited or completely removed from all of its platforms.
Not content to stop there, Google has also created two new tools for business owners on its platform to both report scammers and to access trusted partners for the services those scammers often purport to provide. The new scam reporting tool lets business owners report the policy violations and allows more specific information to be provided. The addition of that second portion is what should allow the company to take action. The second part of that is the new Google My Business Partners program, which is a directory of Google-approved, trusted companies that can provide business listing management and optimization services. Last but not least, the search giant is seeking to arm business owners with knowledge and resources through its Get Your Business Online program. The company wants to give owners means to help customers identify, report, and prevent scams from happening. By filling out a form, the latter program offers a chance to have a Google speaker help with that process. Both of those tools are accessible via the banners below.
Promises to take action and providing new methods to accomplish that are only half the battle, so Google has taken the time to offer some fairly common-sense best practices as well. Of course, non-business Google users can apply those too for that added bit of online safety. First and foremost, when receiving a call, email, or other communication from Google – or any other company – users should verify that the sender is who they say they are. That's easy enough to accomplish when it comes to Google since any email from the company should be sent from an "@google.com" email rather than from a Gmail account or any other provider's domain. Since search engine optimizations are such a prevalent solution offered by scammers, it's important to remember that there's no way to actually improve local rankings. With search engine marketing, there are algorithms that take care of rankings. Those can't be adjusted for any kind of payment. Users should also register their phone number with the Do Not Call Registry, report unwanted callers, and hang up on robocalls. The latter of those should happen well before any keys are pressed, even if the system claims that pressing a key will remove the user from a call list or redirect to a real person. Finally, business users should sign up for Google My Business. That allows them to effectively officially claim their business and provides access to the tools needed to fight back against scammers.