We often register Google Places on behalf of our clients, and because of this many expect to receive postcards from Google. Generally when received they will forward us the PIN to verify the account. Fortunately, this behaviour recently prevented one of our clients from having their Google Place hijacked!
A good client of ours recently received the standard Google Place verification postcard with their business name, address and verification PIN. They forwarded it to us purely out of habit. However, the postcard rang alarm bells for 2 reasons:
- We hadn’t submitted a new listing or any major changes on their behalf, therefore they shouldn’t be expecting a postcard.
- The verification email on the card was not ours, but rather firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking up the domain, this company is headquartered out of Montreal, Canada. Their service is a complete scam.
Not only are they charging companies to provide nothing more than the free, basic Google Place listings. They are also ‘stealing’ the listings from legitimate companies, such as our client! We followed up with the info@ email, but received no answer.
So please, be cautious. If you receive a postcard from Google that you weren’t expecting, or the email isn’t yours or your agency’s, please discard it!