Scam Alert: Google Free Listings

SCAM ALERT! Does anyone else get calls where the automated recording always says this same thing when you pick up? “Our records show that you have not updated your free Google listing. Press 1 to verify or press 9 to be removed from this list.” I’ve automatically hung up so many times on this auto-dialer robo-call service that I hardly hear what they say after the first phrase. The first time I received the call years ago, I listened with some interest, since I was just starting my photography and computer repair business. However, something about the call sounded like a scam, so instead of following their instructions, I went ahead and just got my “free Google listing” on my own. You can view it at https://www.google.com/+Kennethphotography and if you’re interested in creating one for your business, you can visit Google Places for Business. You should never have to pay anything to update this listing!

Anyway, now that I know for sure that my free Google listing is up, it’s all the more suspicious that this other company keeps calling me, especially when it doesn’t appear to be even affiliated with Google. I’ve tried blocking them, but the worst part is that it’s ineffective because they seem to have a huge pool of phone numbers to call from. Here is a partial list of all of the numbers from which they have called me over the years to try to get me to sign up for my “free Google listing” through them:

425-320-5138 (Bellevue, Everett, Renton, WA)
206-397-1159 (Seattle, WA)
417-800-2538 (Springfield, MO)
360-633-9322 (Bellingham, Vancouver, WA)
631-904-6109 (Babylon, Brentwood, Brookhaven, NY)
310-299-0131 (Los Angeles, CA)
323-844-8184 (Los Angeles, CA)
951-221-6113 (Corona, Hemet, Riverside, CA)
541-257-1328 (Bend, Eugene, Pendleton, OR)
323-844-8185 (Los Angeles, CA)
213-603-9078 (Los Angeles, CA)
360-322-6166 (Bellingham, Vancouver, WA)
458-201-1318 (Eugene, OR)

Since “pressing 9” only seems to confirm that you are a human on the phone, and blocking a number only gets you so far, I’ve changed my strategy, and decided to keep adding these new numbers to the address book on my phone as yet another number belonging to the “Google Creeps”, and setting the ring tone to Silent. That way I can still get a sense of how often they’re calling (at least once a month).

Have this robo-dialer called you? Do you have additional numbers to report? Please leave a comment!

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20 comments
  1. We also have our Google Listings up — and boy do we get the scammer calls from all of the above numbers and then some. We ask them to stop their pitch, repeat their name and then ask for the name of the company. Then we tell them that we “Googled” their phone number and we read to them complaints about them being “scammers” — boy they are panicking at this time and usually hang up — unless you get a really slow one like the one today — we hung up on them. Fun stuff!

  2. Thanks for the feedback, JoAnn! What I’d really like to know is what company is really behind these calls. Did they tell you?

  3. Just got a call from these jokers from the 541-257-1328 number. Claimed to be from “Brand Local” and a “certified Google partner” and they had a special today to put me on the front page of Google! Wow! Can’t wait!

  4. Thanks for reporting in and listing the number they used today, Jonathan!

  5. I’ve received two phone calls from the 541-257-1328 number in the last hour. I do NOT have a business. I do NOT have a website. I don’t answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize or expect.

  6. Thanks for the report back, Tena! Sorry for the annoying calls, of course. =[

  7. Thanks for the posting…I have now been called by these groups just after arranging an opportunity to work with Yelp. On two separate occasions, just after signing up with Yelp I received a phone call shortly after. One by Branza and this other one is unknown. I thank God that my phone was on silent and missed it. I checked the number and I see your posting. Thanks!

    Any ideas?

  8. Thanks for the report back, Elliot! I too have signed up with Yelp and received these robo calls ages ago — but much too long ago to draw any meaningful connections. Perhaps other readers can comment on this possibility!

  9. I’ve only recently started getting these calls.
    They are always someone with choppy English, and they ask to “speak with the owner of (insert my company name here)”
    I NEVER get calls for my”company” on my cell. So, I know it’s the same spam callers. Before I even let them say they are doing Google listings. I say “take me off your list!” And hang up.
    I’ve blocked 4 different numbers. Today a new one came up and I answered it. And screamed “stop calling me!!! And take me off your list”
    The non English speaking a##hole on the other end says “if you keep yelling we’re going to keep calling”!!!
    Seriously!?!?

  10. Thanks for the report back, Kelly! Sadly, it seems like answering the call, even with a “do not call” demand, only seems to confirm you exist and encourage them to call again later…

  11. Yup. Got one today, thank god for CID on my cell they called from Eugene,OR. The CID said Web Svc Co number 458 201 1328 you can add that number to your list.

  12. Thanks for the report back, Jess!

  13. IS A SALE SPIDER TO HACKED PHONES AND COMPUTERS !!!!!!
    TO LISTEN TO YOUR HOME !!
    SPIDER UNDER YOUR BED !!!

  14. OMG, we hate spiders under the bed, hacking our computers! Get them outta here!

  15. I pressed 9 last time. Of course, they called back the very next day. Out of curiosity I pressed 1 to talk to a live human. Even when you agree to talk to them, they don’t tell you what company they’re from. How professional. Ask to be removed, and they just don’t care. My company is already the number 1 natural search result for every type of product we sell. How can you improve on that? I always like asking them that question. They never seem to have a good answer except to say that they can help us “stay there”.

  16. Thanks for the report back, Travis! Yeah, I’m pretty sure pressing 9 does absolutely nothing. It’s sad.

  17. 417-800-2538 just called me. I don’t answer any calls I do not recognize. I typed in the number and pulled up this page. Ty for the information and glad that someone is keeping track of these scammers.

  18. The thing about these calls since I just received one from 360-322-6166 is that they give my industry a bad name. Because I want to find out who they are so bad, I do everything possible to act as though I’m interested and they still hang up. They probably hang up because they know I’m an seo company and know that I would be a customer. They are scum.

  19. 360-322-6166 just called here as well, still going strong I see..

  20. These Jerks Call a minimum of 2 – 3 times a day. Each call uses a different number & Name
    on CID. But its always the same recording! This has been going on steadily every single day
    for the last year, maybe 2 now! There has got to be something the FCC or someone can do
    about these crooks! I am sure I am not alone is saying we are Never going to buy into their
    SCAM! Get a real Job!

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