Google Business Profiles can be claimed by the owner or business manager in Google Maps or in Google Search. When someone makes a claim for ownership of a Google Business Profile listing and if that business was already claimed by someone, the current owners will get an email asking if they approve or deny the new ownership request.

Increase in fake claims. According to some in the local SEO community, there has been an increase in the number of fraudulent requests to claim and take ownership of business listings. “I am seeing a ton of owner requests come in from hijackers, are you all seeing the same?” asked Ben Fisher.

Indeed, other local SEOs confirmed seeing similar in the forums. Here are just a couple of the responses:

  • “I saw quite a few maybe 3 weeks ago (for a couple of weeks), but the requests have dramatically declined for me.”
  • “Last week I got 5 scam requests from the same person! I am used to getting maybe 3 a month, but I too have noticed an increase recently.”

Be careful. So beware of such fake claims of ownership and make sure to validate that the person making the claim is a real owner or manager of the business. If you are unsure, it is better to decline the request than to accept it. If the wrong person gains access to your business listing, they can potentially remove your listing or change the website, phone number – or worse.

Why we care. There is a lot of fraud online, especially with Google Search and Google Maps. So being on top of these scams are important so that you are less likely to become a victim of these scams. Stay on top of your business listings and make sure the information is up-to-date and accurate. And never give access to your Google Business Profile to anyone you do not know and trust.

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About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to IXLCenter.io and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.

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