The Official Google Blog and Twitter account SearchLiaison Office shared an article to explain to companies how Google proceeds to fight against scammers (scammers). Many people, even fictional companies, try to extract money from companies by pretending to be Google or other companies. This phishing/racket is a reality that spreads and Google has decided to actively fight against any extortion, to the point of taking legal action against fraudsters and launch the program Google My Business Partners …
The release explains that some third-party companies are posing as Google to scam small businesses by charging for services yet free at Google, or simply by promising monumental and marvelous thanks to their services (the myth of the first place reached in a few days, etc.). Here it is only the example of usurpation concerning Google, but many other identical scams exist of course, to our greatest dismay.
For the anecdote, I received just before writing these lines a cyber-bullying email to extort money (405 dollars in Bitcoin exactly). The person asks to pay it promptly otherwise it broadcasts compromising videos of me. I would have liked to help this person in need, but since I do not have compromising videos of me, I know beforehand that she could not get anything back and that it’s just a bottle to the sea sent hoping that the deception works. So beware of more and more scams, because even if some make me laugh like today, it’s not always so fun … ^^
Google takes things in hand and announces several measures taken against the scammers:
- Litigation against Kydia Inc. d / b / beyond Menu, Point Break Media, LLC (and its affiliates), Supreme Marketing Group, Inc. d / b / a Small Business Solutions. These companies have been denounced or identified by Google and will serve as first examples to future scammers who would like to have fun extorting money from companies.
- AI and machine learning systems that try to identify Google accounts related to scam attempts. Google’s policies have been changed to make it clear that Google may delete an account at any time or limit its capabilities if scam attempts are detected.
- Establishment of a reporting report of fraudulent practices and violations of Google’s rules. Companies can, therefore, provide all the information required to take action against scammers.
- Providing resources and Google speakers to help communities avoid Internet fraud and scams. The request of a speaker can be done via an online form, but I doubt that it is possible in France …
- The launch of the Google My Business Partners program that will provide business owners with a repertoire of trusted partners.
To avoid some common scams, Google provides some basic but very important tips:
- Claiming your business via Google My Business to get ownership of your business listing. Indeed, some third-party companies manage to recover addresses and then resell them to businesses in a second time (while it is a free service at Google …).
- Learn about SEO to avoid scams. Often, when I provide SEO training, I tell trainees that the first benefit of such training is not to be scammed by an agency or a malicious company, knowing what we are talking about. For example, it is not possible to pay to get a better position (in SEO, not in a SEA of course), there are no “Google partners” for SEO (small thought for the commercial Yellow Pages) who gave me this speech … Too bad … ^^) and paid referencing (SEA) does not help to be better ranked in the natural results. It’s stupid, but we still hear these myths every month …
- Report unwanted calls. And if you spot an unwanted call, make sure not to answer (hang up directly) or see if a system allows to go out lists (this is rare among scammers …). Do not forget to register Do Not Call Registry.
- Be wary of people pretending to be Google specialists or even Google employees. It is necessary to check the veracity of the email address (in @ google.com in theory), etc.
It will be impossible to remove all scams from the Internet as they are numerous, but sometimes simple checks can avoid many concerns, as well as knowledge of certain laws, etc. Let’s hope at least that these Google initiatives will bear fruit and will limit this kind of scams …