Google Begins Calling Businesses To Confirm Map Information?

Sep 22, 2010 • 8:07 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Other Google Topics
 

A Google Places Help thread says one business owner received a phone call from someone claiming to be an employee at Google. The Googler said he is calling to verify that his business's address has not changed.

The number on the caller ID was 650-214-7958 and the 650 is in the Mountain View location, which is where Google is located. Also, whenever Google calls me from their Mountain View offices, the 650 area shows up on my caller ID.

The business owner is concerned, very concerned, this call was not from a Googler and it was a scam. He said:

I received a call from 650-214-7958, the caller identified himself as calling from "Google Maps." I asked him 3 times if he worked for Google, he said he did. He wanted to "verify my business address because they received a notice that it had changed." I assured him that the address on the listing was correct. Was this some kind of scam or legit? I'm not concerned since my business address is public information. I just wanted to be sure though. Please advise.

As long as you didn't hand over confidential information, such as your Google username and password, you should be fine.

As Barry Hunter pointed out in the thread, there were reports that Google hired hundreds of people to begin making "corrections to its maps." So maybe this is one of them? But the report said the jobs were based in the Seattle offices, which does not have a 650 area code. Or maybe they do, maybe the calls are over Google Voice, routed through the main Google offices?

Mike said this has to do with community edits. So maybe someone edited a listing and Google called the owner to verify?

I doubt this is a scam but always be careful and never hand over information that can give people access to modify your data.

If Google is validating addresses in question manually, this is a good thing.

Forum discussion at Google Places Help.

Update: A Google spokesperson sent me the following statement:

In some cases, to verify business information, we'll make phone calls to find out the business name and address. However, we will never make an unsolicited call asking you to provide specific account information, passwords or other sensitive information over the phone.

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Comments:

Al

09/22/2010 06:29 pm

I think this is a scam. Google has far too much volume for real people to do this. My wife works for an insurance company that gets calls like this all the time. The caller makes it sound like they are with Google, but it is actually an SEO company. I'm sure even Merchant Circle has tried this.

Juliette Cowall

09/23/2010 12:55 pm

Not sure if it's true or not, but it has come up before (http://blumenthals.com/blog/2010/08/03/google-now-calling-to-confirm-google-places-community-edits-verification-issues/). The author says that Google confirmed it, but doesn't give a name or any other authority. On the other hand, it's not showing up on snopes.

John Nagle

09/28/2010 02:57 am

What's current thinking about this? I'd be encouraged to hear that Google is finally verifying businesses against hard data. Any indications of Google verifying other information about companies against business databases?

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