Google sued the Columbus business in federal court, claiming it impersonated Google to defraud targeting smaller businesses.
Google is accusing the company, referred to as G Verifier in documents filed in federal court in Columbus, of seeking to charge business owners to verify and configure their business profiles, a service Google offers free of charge. increase.
Google is seeking a court order to stop G Verifier from continuing what Google called cheating.
Google claims it suffered at least $50,000 in damages, and G Verifier’s actions continue to harm Google and consumers.
“Today we will file a lawsuit against fraudsters who tried to defraud hundreds of small businesses by impersonating Google through telemarketing calls,” two Google executives said in a blog post posted Tuesday. . “They also created a website promoting the purchase of fake reviews, both positive and negative, to manipulate the reviews of their business profile on Google Search and Maps. and violates Google’s policy on deceptive content.
“In many cases, online fraud is just old tricks hidden in new tools. This is the case in this lawsuit against a group of individuals who tried to charge for Business Profiles, a service we offer free of charge. It’s a case,” the company said.
G Verifier could not be reached for comment. The lawsuit says the company has an office on East Gay Street downtown and showed no signs of being occupied on Tuesday.
A Business Profile is a Google tool that allows business owners to control how their business appears on Google Search and Google Maps. Over the past year, Google says it has blocked 12 million attempts to create fake business profiles and close to 8 million attempts to claim business profiles that do not belong to Google.
For years, Google has provided tools to help businesses submit and manage their profiles on Google. To apply for a profile, the business owner or their authorized representative must confirm that they are the owner and have permission to edit the business’s profile. This service is provided free of charge.
In the lawsuit, Google alleges that G Verifier made regular unsolicited phone market calls by falsely telling business profile owners (mainly small businesses) that they had to pay for their business profiles. I’m complaining that
G Verifier also misrepresented to business owners that they could appear higher in Google money search results, the lawsuit says. Google states that no service can guarantee such results.
According to the lawsuit, G Verifier typically demands a payment of $99 to verify a business profile. Payment also guarantees that your profile will not be deactivated or corrupted in any way.
The lawsuit alleges that G Verifier’s agents misrepresented themselves as Google employees or were making calls on Google’s behalf.
According to Google, hundreds of merchants have complained to Google about the G Verifier scheme. Many people don’t realize they’ve been scammed until they pay for G Verifier, the complaint says.