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Google combating scammers that threaten Search, Maps listings of small businesses

Following the Federal Trade Commission filing suit against companies that try to take advantage of small businesses with threats of removing Search listings, Google is improving how it handles “bad actors” and third-parties. This include new awareness programs, better detection, and taking similar legal action.

According to Google, one common threat business owners face are third-party companies that try to “take advantage of them” through nefarious practices.

Unfortunately, we continue to receive complaints from business owners about calls they receive claiming to be from Google. Often these calls are actually third-party companies who are trying to take advantage of them. Sometimes these scammers claim to be able to improve a business’ Google Search rankings, other times they charge money for services that Google offers for free.

Tasked with protecting consumers, the U.S. FTC earlier this month took action against one company and its “related entities and individuals” for misleading small businesses with threats to remove listings from Google Search and Maps and have them pay for “unwanted search optimization services.”

Google is joining in legal action against “Kydia Inc. d/b/a BeyondMenu, Point Break Media, LLC (and affiliated entities), and Supreme Marketing Group, Inc. d/b/a Small Business Solutions.” This move is intended to send a message to other scammers that Google “will not hesitate to take legal action against them.”

Meanwhile, Google has developed new automated and manual techniques to better identify scam-related Google accounts. New polices will allow Google to either limit or remove these accounts from the platform.

Business owners will have better access to report scammy practices and policy violations with a new tool that provides Google with the necessary information to take action against third-parties. There is also a new Google My Business Partners program that provides a list of trusted services business can go to if they need help with listings. Lastly, Google is launching new education programs to protect against scams.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: