If you’ve received a phone call that begins with “Hi, I’m calling from Google…”, it is highly likely you are the target of a scammer. Often these calls are from third-party companies trying to scam small businesses by offering to improve a business’s Google Search rankings for a fee, charging money to provide services that Google actually offers for free.
I get them all the time, and just this morning, which inspired me to organize these thoughts.
Sometimes these scammers threaten to remove the company’s listing from Google Search and Google Maps unless they pay for search optimization services, or telling them their Google listing is about to expire and offering to renew it.
They sometimes claim they can prove they work for Google, promising they can send you an email to verify their identity. Sure, anyone employed by Google will be able to send you an email from an @google.com email account. So can scammers with the ability to create faux emails.
Doesn’t it feel empowering, almost special, that the mighty Google thinks enough about your small, local business to take the time to call you? I mean, out of 30.2 million small businesses (SBA Office of Advocacy data) they chose to call yours! That, or they have a team of 15,000 of telemarketers working forty hours a week every week in the year to contact them all. LOL.
Any telephone call that starts with “Hi, I’m calling from…” should instantly get your fraud-o-meter rev’d up to the red zone. They are solely relying on the term “Google” to get your attention. Experienced, professional salespeople have studied preferences of behavior, and work with their marketing team to write phone scripts that are non-confrontational.
Don’t fall for any of this. These scammers know how intimidating working with technology platforms like the conglomerate Google is, especially within the SMB community. Inform your staff, and avoid talking to these telemarketers (engaging them merely points them to a real target of opportunity).
Avoid taking to them but it is sometimes fun to whisper in reply that you are not wearing any clothes, and then breathe hard. I sometimes use the following replies:
“I am happy to speak with you. My billing rate is $500 per hour. If you’ll give me your credit card number now, we can continue this conversation.”
“Oh thank god you called. There is a Nigerian prince who left me $10 million. I need to send a bank account number to collect it. If you give me yours, we can split it.”
If we (society) are going to defeat the scammers, scammers, hackers, and Nigerian Princes out there, we have to be smart, we have to share information, and we have to be more suspicious that we want to be. If we are as diligent about this issue as we are about other aspects of growing our companies, over time we will prevail.