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Monday, September 25, 2023

Google Business Profile messages may be a phishing scheme

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Luis Feliz
Luis Feliz
Organización internacional sin fines de lucro, que promueve la confianza en el mercado y que durante más de 100 años ha buscado mejorar las relaciones entre consumidores y compañías. El BBB del este de Carolina del Norte sirve a 33 condados en el área y cada año más de 2 millones de consumidores obtienen servicios e información completamente gratis. Encuentre: Reporte de negocios, Referencias y consejos, Procesos de reclamos, Verificación de anuncios, Reporte de anuncios, Reporte de entidades benéficas, Avisos de estafas, Estándares de confianza. Si Usted requiere consultar sobre una empresa, producto, servicio o desea hacer un reclamo, comuníquese con el BBB. ¡Le atenderemos en español¡

RALEIGH, NC (March 23, 2022) – The Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina advises businesses to be suspicious of messages sent to their Google business profile page. The BBB has become aware of several phishing attempts trying to implicate business owners.

Messages sent to your Google business profile page are a great way to engage with customers, who may ask about special promotions, changing business hours, or anything else related to your business. But what happens when the last query has nothing to do with your business? And when he answers with the correct information, does the “client” stay on the original line of questioning?

In that case, you are probably dealing with someone who is trying to scam you. These scammers send out hundreds, if not thousands, of the same question hoping someone will bite. This phishing technique often pays off, even if virtually everyone who receives the spam ignores it. Because they only need a few bites.

How the scam works
One exchange began this way: “Hello, my name is ________________. Please, I need your service on my newly purchased property. I want my entire roof removed and replaced with new architectural shingles. Could you please help me?”

When BBB suggested that they call back during business hours, they received this response:

“Thanks for the quick response, please advise if you are the owner of the business and also accept credit card as a payment method because that will be my means of payment, and also have a cell phone number so I can send you a text message address of the house and you can give me an estimate as soon as possible”.

Clearly, scammers are hoping to find a roofer among the many text messages they send because the response remains the same no matter what the answer is.

Just a few days later, BBB received another message on its Google business profile:

Hi, this is Mark, do you still offer hardwood flooring service at your company?

BBB responded that it was closed and instructed the message writer to call during business hours. BBB provided the phone number. The alleged scammer replied:

“Okay, I just bought a new house here and I’m going to need you to help me remove the old flooring and install a new one. Please let me know if you serve that area.”

Again, it would appear to be an automated message based on receiving a response of any kind. When BBB responded with the same message they sent earlier, requesting to call during business hours, the would-be scammer replied:

“I’d rather you go look at the job so you can come up with an exact budget, but I want you to know that I’m currently on a mission trip so I won’t be meeting with you right now and I need the job.” done before I come back in April, so please let me know if you can finish the project before then and I hope this won’t be a problem.”

In both cases, the biggest red flag is easy to spot. When BBB responded during normal business hours, the scammer followed up with more questions. While both exchanges were obvious phishing attempts due to the roofing or flooring removal issue, it may not have been as obvious to the roofing or flooring contractor receiving the same message.

In situations like these, it’s important to take a moment before responding. Scammers try to get you to act quickly without thinking. They are trying to get you involved in some kind of transaction that will cost you money. Just like when scammers phishing through text messages or emails, people should always be wary of unsolicited communications. It is important to keep your antenna up and not fall victim to the latest scam.

Your Google Business Profile is another valuable tool for businesses to stay connected with customers, but like all popular tools, scammers see opportunities. Make sure you are prepared.

BBB offers these tips when it comes to spam.

  • Be skeptical . Strangers on the Internet can pretend to be anyone. Question the motives behind solicited and unsolicited messages.
  • Check for spelling and grammatical errors . While not all scammers have poor grammar, many scammers found abroad do. Carefully review communications and analyze them for inconsistencies.
  • Protect personal information and photos. Scammers may try to request personal information through methods such as cold calls, text messages, or emails. Please keep this in mind and always verify, where possible, the organization or person you are speaking with via video conferencing or third party software. Also, remember that any photo you upload to social media can be stolen and used by a scammer.

For more information on how to avoid this scam, contact Luis Feliz at lfeliz@raleigh.bbb.org

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels


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