Phishing con fools web domain name owners

  
     
October 28, 2016

If you run a business or have a personal website, you probably own a website domain (or several). This con fools domain owners into paying or sharing personal information in order to "register" with Google.

How the Scam Works: 

You own a domain name for your personal or business website. One day, you get a robocall claiming to represent Google's business listing or a similar service. The recording claims that your domain listing is out-of-date and you need to update it in order to keep your spot in Google's search rankings. 

In fact, the caller has no affiliation with Google. If you agree to "update your listing," the caller may ask for information about your business -- including your Google password. Sharing this puts you at risk for future scams or even identity theft. In other cases, scammers try to charge for their phony services. 

How to Avoid a Domain Name Con:

Many businesses take a "buy it and forget it" approach to their website domain names, and scammers prey on that lack of knowledge. Here are a few tips for better managing this part of your business.  

  • Be familiar with Google's services. Google does not charge for inclusion in Google My Business or in Google Search. Google doesn’t currently cold call businesses with an offer to improve your search ranking or manage your business's online profile.
  • Don't provide your password or verification code to any caller. You should never provide sensitive information about your account (like your password and verification code) to an unsolicited caller.
  • Select a single business to register all your domain names. Another domain name scam involves fake invoices for domains you never purchased. Avoid falling for this trick by selecting a single provider to register your domains and maintain one account. 
  • Know your top-level domains.  Scammers use scare tactics to sell unpopular top level domains at inflated prices. If you company doesn't do business in other countries, you probably don't need to buy a domain there. 

For More Information

Learn more about phony robocalls that claim to be from Google here

To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker).