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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19 comments

  1. JoAnn

    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. kenneth

    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. Jonathan

    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. Tena

    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.

  5. Elliot

    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?

  6. kenneth

    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!

  7. Kelly

    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!?!?

  8. kenneth

    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…

  9. Jess

    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.

  10. yan

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

  11. Travis

    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”.

  12. Kathryn Quasebarth

    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.

  13. Mark Herre

    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.

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