BBB scam alert: Google Business Profile posts could be a phishing schemeOzark Radio News
BBB advises businesses to be wary of messages sent to your Google Business Profile page. BBB has become aware of several phishing attempts attempting to engage business owners.
Posts on your Google Business Profile page are a great way to interact with customers, who may ask about special promotions, changing hours of operation, or anything else related to your business. But what happens when the last query has nothing to do with your business? And when you answer with the correct information, does the “customer” stay on the original line of questioning?
In this case, you are probably dealing with someone trying to scam you. These scammers send hundreds, if not thousands, of the same question hoping someone will bite. This phishing technique often pays off, although virtually everyone who receives the spam is unaware of it. Because they only need a few bites. The Better Business Bureau of Central New England recently received a number of these phishing attempts in their own Google Business Profile.
Springfield BBB Regional Manager Stephanie Garland explains how the scam works:
An exchange started like this:
“Greetings, my name is ________________. Please I will need your services on my newly purchased property. I want the entire roof ripped off and replaced with new architectural shingles, can you help me please ? “
When BBB suggested calling back during business hours, he received this response:
“Thanks for the quick response, please advise if you are the business owner and do you also accept credit card as payment as this will be my payment method, and also do you have a mobile number that I can text you the address of the house and you can provide me with as close an estimate as possible.”
Clearly, the scammers hope to find a roofer among the many SMS they send because the answer remains the same whatever the answer.
A few days later, BBB received another message on their Google Business Profile:
“Hello this is Mark, did you still offer hardwood flooring service in your business?”
BBB replied that it was closed and asked the author of the message to call during business hours. BBB provided the phone number. The alleged scammer replied:
“Okay I just bought a new house here and I will need you to help me remove the old floor and install a new one, let me know if you service this area?”
Again, it appears to be an automated message based on receiving a response of any kind. When BBB replied with the same message he sent earlier, asking to call during business hours, the potential scammer replied:
“I would prefer you go and see the work so you can come out with the accurate estimate but I want you to know that I am currently on a mission trip so I will not be meeting with you at this time and need the work done before I’m coming back in April, so let me know if you can finish the project before then and hopefully it won’t be a problem?”
Either way, the biggest red flag is easy to spot. When BBB responded with their normal business hours, the scammer continued with more questions. While both exchanges were obvious phishing attempts due to the issue of roofing or floor removal, it might not have been so obvious to the receiving roofing or flooring contractor. the same message.
It is important in situations like these to take a moment before responding. Scammers try to trick you into acting quickly without thinking. They are trying to engage you in some kind of transaction that will cost you money. Just like when scammers phish via text or email, people should always be wary of unsolicited communications. It’s important to have your antenna up and not fall victim to the latest scam.
Your Google Business Profile is another valuable tool for businesses to stay in touch with their customers, but as with all popular tools, scammers see it as an opportunity. Make sure you are ready.
BBB offers these tips when dealing with unsolicited messages.
be skeptical – Strangers on the Internet can impersonate anyone. Ask yourself about the motivations behind the solicited and unsolicited messages.
Check for spelling and grammar errors – While not all scammers have bad grammar, many overseas scammers do. Check communications carefully and analyze them to detect any inconsistencies.
Protect personal information and photos – Scammers may try to solicit personal information through methods such as cold calls, text messages or emails. Keep this in mind and always verify, where possible, the organization or person you are talking to via third-party software or videoconferencing. Also, remember that any photo you upload to social media can be stolen and used by a scammer.
For more information
Learn about this scam where crooks try to take over your Google Business Profile.
Learn about the power of customer reviews. Learn more about scams targeting small businesses.
If you spotted a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker, even if you didn’t fall victim to it or lose money. Your report can help others avoid common scam tactics.
Stay up to date on the latest scams by subscribing to BBB’s weekly scam alerts email. Learn how to spot a scam at BBB.org/SpotaScam.
BBB serving central and western Massachusetts and northeast Connecticut contributed to this article.