Google Maps is an incredible tool for connecting businesses and clients. Unfortunately, it can also be used to harm legitimate businesses by listing fraudulent phone numbers, addresses, and more.
Today, we are going to highlight a few of these tactics so you can be aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourself from them.
How a Scammer Could Harm Your Business on Google Maps
Keep an eye out for these examples of ways a scammer can negatively impact your business:
- Providing fake contact information
- Inaccurately listing a business a “permanently closed”
- Posing as a representative of the business on its review pages
- Sabotaging competitors’ listings with false pictures or other updates
Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can follow to limit the harm these scammers can cause for you and your business.
What You Can Do To Stop Scammers
The best way to insulate your business from these practices is to keep your finger on the pulse of your company’s online presence. Check your Google Maps listing every day to make sure the phone number, mailing address, business hours, and physical location are all accurate and read over any recent reviews to make sure the answers are being given in good faith.
If you notice inaccuracies, correct the errors and then report the problem to Google right away.
How to Help Google Ban the Scammers
Google has been proactive about putting a stop to these problems and currently catches about 85% of fake Google Maps entries before they are made public.
We can tackle the remaining 15% together:
- Vet Your Lead Providers. Make sure you aren’t competing with your own vendors for organic leads.
- Do Your Homework. Scout out competitors who pop up on your local radar overnight. Check to see if the information listed on their entries is legitimate.
- Report Fake Information Directly to Google. Letting Google know about any problems can help get them corrected quickly.
Reporting Fraudulent Listings on Google Maps
The good news is that Google has made it easier than ever to report these violations, which can help minimize its impact.
If you become aware of falsified or misleading information on Google Maps, submit a formal complaint ticket using the Business Redressal Complaint Form.
Note that honest mistakes and innocuous errors should be reported using this reporting tool instead.
We Do Web Content Can Help
If you suspect your law firm’s Google Maps listing has been targeted by scammers, our team can help guide you through updating your listing and filing the reports you’ll need to protect yourself from harm. Email us today for more information.
Alex is a successful entrepreneur, marketer, and president of We Do Web Content, an Inc. 5000 business. His firm devises content and marketing strategies and produces online content for law firms, medical professionals, and small businesses nationwide.