Finally! Google Taking Action Against Robocallers
Do you feel frustrated with all the spammy calls that come your way? Even in the office do you seem to be besieged, especially with these automated sales calls ? Robocallers claim affiliation with Google and prey on small businesses by serving up scams and spams.
Google is fed up and has decided to take the boxing gloves out. They’ve launched a new page for users to report scams and they filed suit this last Wednesday against an unreliable SEO firm dedicated to making robocalls.
Businesses throughout Australia are besieged by phone calls asking to update Google listings. These calls say you can be removed from the caller database but you never are. So how do the calls stop?
This is the question many users have… and up until recently, there hasn’t been an effective answer. Now Google has made the first step to combat the robocaller program, legal action against companies claiming to work for or with Google.
The suit against Local Lighthouse Corp, a U.S. based SEO company, claims that this company makes false and misleading claims during telemarketing calls, and this confuses consumers into believing there is a relationship with the defendant company.
Google states that Local Lighthouse makes statements suggesting they are a Google subcontractor, working for Google and that the $100 fee being charged goes to Google so the customer’s web page will show up multiple times on a first page of the search engine.
Local Lighthouse has 5 other civil cases pending; each for similar reasons. These cases were filed in California, North Carolina, Washington and Oregon.
As a consequence of the legal suit and the annoying growth of robocalls, Google has launched a Safety Center page. This is for users who receive these automated calls from companies stating they are affiliated with Google. The page explains the steps you can take to stop receiving calls and offers links to report the issue to the Federal Trade Commission or Federal Communications Commission.
How are the Robocalls Made?
These start with a recording asking the recipient to press a button to update or claim the My Business Listing with Google. At this moment they are put into a sales system that gets them to buy local search engine optimization services without really knowing it. Officially, these calls are illegal in some countries, but are still often used.
For years businesses have complained about these automated robocalls, and as a consequence, Google’s reputation has suffered, as users believe Google is involved in the call and the cost.
Google has refrained from taking action, and instead, it directs users to the National Do Not Call Registry or suggests filing a complaint with the ACC.
And…despite the complaints and the filings perpetrators have managed to make money from these unethical, fake calls. Perpetrators use untraceable phone numbers, false company information and intermediaries to execute the negotiations.
The Difference Between a Google Call and a Robocall
It is true! Google does sometimes call users. But this is simply to verify a business listing, map details, AdWords or other products. These are calls made by live representatives and not by an automated system.
The only effective solution at this point is to hang up the phone, to abstain from pressing any button, as once you do, they have your phone number in their database. Once you press a button you will continue to get more illegal robocalls says the ACC.
So far there are more than 200,000 complaints, and the number is growing. This new legal action by Google indicates that the company will become more proactive in dealing with such unethical business behaviour.