Google announced on Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against “scammers who sought to defraud hundreds of small businesses by impersonating Google through telemarketing calls.”
Google said that the company, which went under the name ‘G Verifier’ allegedly scammed small businesses by charging them for creating Business Profiles, even though Google offers this service for free. Many people don’t realize they’ve been scammed until after they pay ‘G Verifier’.
Google also said that:
“They also created websites advertising the purchase of fake reviews, both positive and negative, to manipulate reviews of Business Profiles on Google Search and Maps.”
According to Google, hundreds of merchants have complained to the company about the ‘G Verifier’ scheme.
In addition, Google shared a few tips to help people recognize scams and take action. Here are three:
- Take your time: It’s likely not that urgent. Give yourself a moment to ask questions and avoid being rushed into a bad situation.
- When in doubt, hang up: If you receive an unwanted or unexpected call from someone who claims to be an official representative of an organization and asks for money, feel free to hang up anytime.
- Do your research: Search online to double check the details you’re getting. Look up the company or organization (or person) the caller claims to represent and get in touch with them directly. Google, for example, will never call and ask you for payment information over the phone.