Those Darn Google Calls!

Many of our small business owners here in Maine have complain to me about calls to their business “from Google” – automated voice messages telling them they will lose their Google listings if the recipient doesn’t press 1 or some such thing.  Then, if the business owner tries to respond in any way other than hanging up, they just get placed on terminal hold or disconnected.  These calls are so disruptive to businesses.  There is no way before picking up the phone to know it’s just one of those calls.  In fact, many of the calls have a local phone number on your caller ID.

Here’s the thing.  These calls aren’t from Google.  They have nothing to do with Google.  That’s not how Google operates.  There are a lot of great free tools that help you with Internet marketing via a Google account, but Google doesn’t really beat down your door to get you to use them.  They aren’t even calls from any known firm and the phone numbers on your caller ID are spoofed.  I called one number that was based in Orem Utah and it was really the number for some poor orthodontist’s office there.  A voice mail message picked up immediately, said they had nothing to do with those calls, and provided options if you were really calling for your child’s orthodontic care.  If you think these calls are bothersome as a recipient, imagine the hassle of owning a phone number that happened to match one of the spoofed numbers for these mass-generated bothersome calls.

If you have been the recipient of these calls, you may wonder how you got on the list.  It’s nothing that you’ve done or not done.  Being on the Do Not Call List doesn’t make any difference.  Having a website (or not) for your business doesn’t make a difference.  The numbers are collected by a computer program and the automated calls are also generated by a computer program.  As far as I can tell, the purpose of these calls is to generate MORE phone spam.  It’s called phishing.  When the number is not disconnected for your business, they can then sell it as part of a “business leads list”.  If you’ve ever gotten an offer to purchase hundreds of qualified leads of people who are your business’ target market for pennies on the dollar, well, this is where they get them from… Please don’t waste your money.

I wish I could tell you how to stop them but I can’t.  What I can tell you is that they are not from Google and have nothing to do with Google.  If you haven’t claimed your free business’ Google Place, I can show you how to do that.  If you have a website but are not using free Google Analytics to track all sorts of great information about visits to your website, I can help you with that too.  My advice is to just keep telling yourself that these calls aren’t from Google (no matter how many times they say that they are) and to explore some of the great free business Internet marketing tools that are from Google.

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