What is a Google Business Profile?

A Google Business Profile (GBP, formerly Google My Business) is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. Having an updated and optimized GBP is essential for businesses of all sizes, as it can help them to:

  • Improve their visibility in local search results
  • Attract more customers
  • Build trust and credibility
  • Gain valuable insights into their customer base

Why Google Business Profile Scams Exist

Because GBP is so important, scammers and unscrupulous actors see an opportunity to prey on businesses that are either not familiar with how GBP works, or that are eager to improve their online presence.

Common Google Business Profile Scams

Here are some common GBP scams to be aware of:

1. Verification Code Scams

How it works: You receive a call or email from someone claiming to be from Google, asking for your GBP verification code. They may say they need it to verify your listing or to help you claim a free listing. Once you provide the code, the scammer can then take control of your listing and make unauthorized changes.

How to avoid: Never give out your verification code to anyone who contacts you unsolicited. Google will never call or email you to ask for this code.

2. Listing Hijacking

How it works: Scammers may try to gain access to your GBP listing by creating a fake email address that looks similar to yours or by using social engineering tactics to trick you into giving them access. Once they have access, they can change your business information, such as your address, phone number, and website, to direct customers to their own businesses. They can also post fake negative reviews to damage your reputation.

How to avoid: Regularly monitor your GBP listing for any suspicious activity. Set up two-factor authentication for your Google account and be wary of any unsolicited emails or phone calls from people claiming to be from Google.

3. Fake Review Extortion

How it works: A scammer may post fake negative reviews on your GBP listing or threaten to do so unless you pay them a fee. They may also offer to remove legitimate negative reviews in exchange for money.

How to avoid: Never pay a scammer to remove a review. Instead, flag the fake review to Google. You can also respond to the review publicly, addressing the issue and providing any necessary context for potential customers.

4. Phishing Emails and Websites

How it works: Scammers may send phishing emails or create fake websites that look like Google My Business. These emails or websites may ask for your login credentials or other personal information. They may also try to trick you into clicking on a malicious link that could infect your computer with malware.

How to avoid: Only access your GBP listing through the official Google My Business website or app. Be wary of any suspicious emails or links, even if they appear to be from Google.

5. Fake GBP Optimization Services

How it works: Scammers may contact you offering GBP optimization services, promising to get your business ranking higher in local search results. These services may involve keyword stuffing, creating fake reviews, or other unethical practices that violate Google’s guidelines. Ultimately, these tactics can harm your listing and your online reputation.

How to avoid: Do your research and choose a reputable SEO company with a proven track record. Ask for references and check online reviews. Be wary of companies that promise unrealistic results or use spammy tactics.

Protecting Your Business from Google Business Profile Scams

Here are some tips to help you protect your business:

  • Never share your GBP login credentials with anyone.
  • Be wary of unsolicited calls or emails from people claiming to be from Google. If you’re unsure, hang up and call Google directly using the number on their website.
  • Regularly monitor your GBP listing for any suspicious activity. Check your business information, reviews, and photos to ensure accuracy.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for your Google account. This will add an extra layer of security by requiring a code from your phone in addition to your password.
  • Report any suspected scams to Google. You can do this by clicking on the Report a problem link at the bottom of your GBP dashboard.

What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed

If you think you may have been the victim of a GBP scam, don’t panic. Take these steps:

  • Immediately change your Google account password.
  • Report the scam to Google. They have a dedicated team that investigates and takes action against fraudulent activity.
  • If you’ve lost money or your business has been affected, report the scam to the authorities.


Your GBP is a powerful tool for attracting new customers and growing your business. However, it’s crucial to stay vigilant about the risks of scams. By being aware of common scams, following the tips above, and being cautious about who you trust, you can protect your GBP and your business.

Note: Zing Business Systems provides done-for-you solutions for Google Business Profiles or provides ideas and solutions for the DIY business owner.

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