How to Stop Google Listing Robocalls
Robocalls are an issue that has swelled up to unprecedented proportions. A whopping 54.6 billion robocalls have been placed in the U.S. in 2019 alone, a fact revealed by a report from the robocall-blocking app Hiya. If you’re living in America and you own a phone line, chances are you’re already well-acquainted with this vexing, pre-recorded, auto-dialed phone call. Did you know that an average American receives about 14 such calls every month, according to Business Wire?
The vast majority of scam calls plaguing the phone lines of U.S. consumers operate under a single false premise—they’re representing a large company or government institution, and you’re in some kind of trouble. Many public entities have been and continue to be the objects of these illicit calls and false representation, including the Social Security Administration, Verizon, AT&T, etc. Needless to say that Google—the multinational technology giant and a household name in every American home—hasn’t been spared the scam efforts tied to its name.
Business owners are particularly susceptible to becoming targets of Google listing robocalls. If you’ve recently received one or more calls about your Google Business listing getting suspended or compromised, you can hang up without thinking about it twice. This is a widespread scam attempt. Google has officially stated that it will never call you to try to sell you anything or ask for payment information over the phone.
Does Google Send Out Robocalls?
Google will never call you via a robocall unless you specifically requested an automated call from them. Google might call you, but there will always be an actual person on the other end.
Google (as in, the real Google) might call you in some particular cases:
- You have requested customer service help from Google about your Google Ads or other Google accounts
- You own a registered business, and Google calls you to verify your business details for Google Maps or Google My Business
A human operator representing Google will never ask you for your personal or payment information over the phone—not even when you’re discussing your business account. If the caller insists you divulge this type of information, you can be certain it’s a scam. Don’t engage with the caller and don’t press any numbers on your keypad; it’s best you hang up immediately and report the call.
How to Verify if the Call Is From Google
In the case of a fraudulent call, the caller will say that they are working “with Google” or use vague and imprecise phrases like “Google specialist” or “calling on behalf of Google.”
If you’re in doubt, there is one sure way to find out if the caller is actually calling from Google. You can request that they send you an email from their official work email account. If you’re talking to a legitimate Google employee, you will receive a verification email from an @google.com email account.
How to Report the Google Scam Robocall
Reporting robocalls may be the most effective way to keep the lid on this growing issue. As stated on their My Business Help page, in order to report the illicit call, you will need to provide Google with the following information:
- The caller’s company and contact information
- Any emails or documentation you received from the caller as part of a follow-up
- Any additional information about the call
Use this webform on Google My Business Help to report the perpetrators.
You should also report the call to the Federal Trade Commission, the main federal authority leading the charge against illegal robocalls. To do so, use this webform on the FTC website.
What Is Google Doing About the Robocalls?
Google is taking the privacy security of its customers and consumers seriously. The organization is also committed to providing products and services that can support small business owners. To put a stop to Google listing robocalls and other types of Google-related scam schemes, the tech giant has announced the necessary steps it would take with regard to the issue:
- Suing robocall scammers
- Offering scam prevention education
- Asking customers to report the scam efforts
Suing Robocall Scammers
In a blog post published in May 2018, Google has officially announced that it will take legal steps against the entities Kydia Inc. d/b/a BeyondMenu, Point Break Media, LLC (and affiliated entities), and Supreme Marketing Group, Inc. d/b/a Small Business Solutions. Those companies have been charged for “misleading small businesses with threats to remove their listings from Google Search and Maps and demands that they pay for unwanted search optimization services.”
Google has also stated that they will not hesitate to take legal action against all other scammers and that they hope this example will send a message to other fraudsters targeting Google and its customers.
Offering Scam Prevention Education
As a small business that has partnered with Google through their Get Your Business Online program, you can request a Google speaker to provide an educational talk for you and your community on how to avoid scam and fraud. Fill out the Google Speaker Request Form to apply.
Asking Customers to Report the Scam Efforts
Google has developed a tool that enables business owners to report a violation or scam attempt, including the Google listing scam robocall. By providing this useful information, you are enabling Google and the relevant authorities to track down the impostors and take legal action against them.
Square Accounts With Scammers With DoNotPay’s Robo Revenge
At DoNotPay, we’re all about making our everyday lives more efficient and straightforward. We make this happen by harnessing cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology and automation. Tackling the issue of robocalls has always been one of our main priorities, and it finally culminated in the creation of Robo Revenge. Wired even referred to our Robo Revenge feature as a “digital sting operation,” and that’s exactly what it is!
Learn how you can use DoNotPay to trace the identity of scammers and file a claim against them. This is an entirely safe method and doesn’t require you to risk your own money or financial information. The efforts of our Robo Revenge feature could result in you receiving a settlement of up to $3,000! By tracking down the scammers, not only could you earn some decent cash compensation for your troubles, but you’re also helping authorities to prosecute the fraudsters and curb their illicit activities.
This is how the process works:
- You receive a robocall that you suspect might be a scam
- Wait until you’re asked to disclose your credit card information
- Click on the Robo Revenge option on the DoNotPay website in your web browser or iOS device
- Select Create Your Card to generate a temporary card number linked to DoNotPay’s virtual credit card. The card has no funds on it, so you will not be charged a dime
- Provide this temporary card number to the callers
- Wait until the scammers attempt to withdraw funds from your free virtual credit card DoNotPay will then track down the callers and access their personal information
- Using their details, file a claim against the scammers on our app
- DoNotPay will generate a request for compensation on your behalf. Most scammers will rather offer you a settlement instead of going to court
Bear in mind that, for the time being, Robo Revenge is only working against perpetrators that are running their operations from the U.S. Scammers that are based abroad fall outside of our federal jurisdiction, so there is currently no possibility to take legal action against them.
Recognize Other Common Robocall Scam Schemes
Robocall scams have become so rampant because they’re incredibly cheap to run, yet they can be very prolific for the wrongdoers behind them. USA Today estimated that it takes only one in 100,000 scam robocalls to “work” to keep the whole operation profitable.
How can you recognize that the robocall you just received isn’t legitimate? While they may differ in their “scenarios,” all phone scams follow the same pattern.
Scam callers might:
- Pretend that they’re calling from an official, well-known institution or company
- Claim that there has been a problem that can only be solved if you disclose sensitive personal or financial information, or wire funds immediately
- Claim that you’ve won a prize or are eligible for some kind of benefits, but you need to disclose your personal information first or pay a fee to access the prize
For example, in the past few years, a number of robocalls in Mandarin have been targeting Chinese-speaking nationals living in the U.S. One of the most common “scripts” of a Chinese robocall scam tricks the recipient of the call into believing they’re being contacted by a Chinese embassy or consulate. They are being told of a recovered package somewhere in China that contains the victim’s passport, credit cards, or another crucial document. They are being warned they’re now under investigation and requested to wire funds to an account in China or Hong Kong in order to avoid legal prosecution.
If there’s a moral to the story, it’s that official and legitimate government institutions will never ask for your payment information or request immediate payment through an automated phone call. They will never threaten to take legal action against you if you don’t send money right away. This type of language and scare tactics are a dead giveaway that you’re dealing with a scammer.
Are All Robocalls Illegal?
Some robocalls are illegal, and some are perfectly legal and useful.
Remembering which robocalls are illegal is simple—as stipulated in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, scam attempts and telemarketing calls from companies that don’t have your written consent to contact you in such a way are a big no-no. On the other hand, a charity broadcasting a robocall message in which they’re asking for donations is perfectly fine. So is, for instance, a robocall with a purely informative purpose, like your pharmacy reminding you to pick up your medicine.
Check out the table below for more examples.
Type of robocall
|Telemarketing calls which you’ve agreed to in writing|
|Telemarketing calls which you never agreed to in writing|
|Public service announcements|
|Calls from a political candidate|
|Calls from a charity|
|Calls from a debt collection agency|
What to Do if You Get an Illegal Robocall
Illegal robocalls, particularly scam calls, may be one of the most ubiquitous and inconvenient inflictions of modern everyday life. Instead of letting them get to you, it’s important to keep a cool head and not fall prey to the scammers’ efforts.
When you receive an illegal robocall, keep in mind the following tips:
- Don’t pick up the phone if you don’t recognize the number. If it’s a legitimate call, the caller will likely leave a voicemail message or try to reach out to you in another way
- If you answered the call and it turned out to be a scam or unsolicited telemarketing call, hang up
- A phone number that looks familiar isn’t necessarily that. Spammers often use spoofing, a manipulation that makes their phone number appear falsely similar to yours, or like it’s coming from a government agency or another well-known organization
- Don’t interact with the call in any way. Even by pressing one key on your keypad, you may end up receiving more robocalls from the same caller in the future
- Don’t divulge any of your personal information. You shouldn’t disclose any of your personal information to a robocall or unverified caller, especially not your name, address, bank account numbers, any kind of PINs or passwords, etc.
- Protect your voicemail with a password. Scammers can hack your phone number and get into your voicemail unless it’s protected with a strong password
- Register your number with the Do Not Call Registry. If you’ve received an unsolicited robocall from a telemarketer after your number has been on the list for at least 31 days, you should report the caller to the FTC. There are some exceptions to the DoNot Call list, though
- Scam calls should always be reported to the FTC, whether your number is listed on the Do Not Call list or not. Enlisting in the Registry does not expire
How to Block Illegal Robocalls
Phone scammers engage in different tactics, so there is no single one-size-fits-all to the issue of illegal robocalls.
The main issue stems from the fact that they are frequently run by scammers that don’t care about the Do Not Call Registry, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or any other appropriate federal and state regulations and laws. To make matters more complicated, scam call operations are more often than not run from abroad, in countries with more relaxed regulatory systems. All of this makes taking legal action against them especially tricky.
The good news is that technology has come up with several effective solutions to prevent, filter out, and block such calls. Learn about the most common methods for keeping robocalls at arm’s length in the table below.
Features and Benefits
Robocall-blocking mobile app
Manual number blocking on your smartphone
What Else Can DoNotPay Do for You?
- Appealing parking tickets
- Dealing with bills you are unable to cover
- Fighting traffic tickets
- Managing credit cards issues
- Canceling subscriptions or memberships
- Lowering your bills
- Paying your bills
- Requesting refunds for delayed or canceled flights
- Suing people and companies in small claims court
- Disputing speeding tickets
- Scheduling a DMV appointment fast
- Skipping the queue when calling customer service
- Tracking down callers behind other illegal robocalls