Have you ever received a request for access to your Google My Business (GMB) from a person or company that you didn’t recognize? If so, you’re not alone.
While a request like this may seem like a simple misunderstanding or even a mistake, please be aware that they are not so benign. In fact, you’ll notice that most of these requests for “ownership” come in flurries of 3 or 4 over a period of several days.
This is a “Phishing” attack that starts with an email like this:
An email like this is safe to click on. However, be VERY careful. Be sure that the email is really from Google. The reply address should look like this:
Even so, once you click on “Review Request” take a close look at your address bar. Verify that you’re on a real Google URL. It should look like this:
If the domain is not google.com, then this is a different type of Phishing attack and you should ignore it altogether. However, the most common scenario is that the intended thief is hoping that you simply mis-click, or inadvertently grant them access or ownership through the official Google My Business request process.
When you examine the request you’ll see something like this:
In the example above you can see that the default action in the Google My Business dashboard is to grant ownership! This is extremely dangerous. A simple mis-click on your phone, or not paying close enough attention can result in a major headache for the legitimate business owner. Accidentally ceding ownership of your listing in the world’s most popular and most used directory can have disastrous ramifications.
Carefully click on reject request, and then submit the form. Once you reject the request you will receive a notification like this one:
Unfortunately, you will probably receive several of these bogus requests over the next few days. They’ll come from different names and organizations that you do not recognize.
While this type of attack is increasing in popularity, Google My Business is becoming more and more vital to local businesses and organizations. In fact, GMB is easily the most important component of any local SEO strategy. In most instances, the local Google Maps “Three Pack” will appear above all other organic search results at the local level.
So how do you take advantage of the power and potential of Google My Business while keeping your listing safe? Well, if you haven’t already, take a moment to download our free 2021 Google My Business Optimization Guide. This easy-to-read guide will help you, the business owner, understand GMB and implement a strategy for increasing your business listing visibility on the platform and eventually outranking your competitors.