For years, unsuspecting businesses have fallen victim to the claims of predatory marketing companies claiming to be associated with Google. To fight these imposters and stem the avalanche of complaints resulting from these scams, Google has stepped up to the plate and is taking direct action.
In addition to launching a Safety Center page where users can report Robocall scam calls, Google has filed suit against Local Lighthouse Corp for false advertising, trademark infringement, and unfair competition.
Under the guise of an association with Google, the company is accused of reaching out to businesses with automated calls that lead to promises of first page rankings and claims of working with Google. According to some victims, the company would require a set-up fee that it claimed was paid directly to Google.
After failing to deliver on promises for first page rankings, businesses would often call up Google to complain about its services, only to discover that they had been scammed. This has been creating headaches for the businesses paying into these dead end services and for Google, who has been fielding this constant flood of complaints.
Google isn’t the only one taking Local Lighthouse to court. Several other lawsuits against the company are pending, including a class-action filed in July. While it’s unclear how successful Google’s case will be, it’s definitely pointing attention toward the dangers of these calling scams.
In addition to selling fraudulent SEO services, the scam companies will sometimes claim association with Google in order to gain access to a company’s login information of business listings. Google has clarified to users that although it will sometimes call users, these will always be from a live person, not an automated voice.
Companies that receive a call from an automated system, usually asking them to press a button to speak to someone, can report these calls to the FCC or FTC. This can sometimes be tricky, as phone numbers may be untraceable or the company name could be fake. The safest course of action is to immediately hang up.
When trusting a company with your business’s SEO, proceed with caution. The results can have a huge impact on your company’s future and you may be wasting valuable marketing costs. Choosing the right SEO company can be tricky, but it’s worth doing some investigating to protect your business and your investment.