Google scam – Part 2

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Those of us who deal in IT security have the
luxury of being able to ignore the typical scam unless it impacts our network,
family member or close friend. These scams are generally not all that
technically interesting and frankly, it’s easy to feel like such scams are
beneath us somehow.
Many of us have been using computers since before
the rise of the internet, and being computer and internet literate we are more
than capable of distinguishing a scam with ease, unfortunately there are also many
who aren’t.
To a large segment of the population, the
internet is just as mystifying as a good magic show.  They can see the set pieces and the effects,
but can’t quite grasp what goes on in the background.  They’re not idiots for being conned, they are
victims; victims because they didn’t have the knowledge to see through the scam.
Recently my friend, a fellow entrepreneur who
I’ll refer to as Jocelyn, found she faced a high pressure telemarketing scam
based on Google listings.
Having just opened her business last summer, every
day she faces a long list of calls to make, bills to pay, appointments to keep and
the last thing she has time for is to know all the details of how Google
listings and SEO work.
Here’s a breakdown of how the scam unfolded:
  • Business Registry Center (BRC) contacts
    Jocelyn and she explains she’s not interested.
  • Being telemarketers they’re very persistent
    and advanced their tactics detailing Jocelyn’s business who suffer and close if
    she doesn’t accept their offer to ensure her business is registered and promoted on Google Local
    Business listings. BRC keeps calling to pressure with more stats and ‘facts’ to validate their claims.
  • Jocelyn checks out the BRC website at
    and is taken in by initial appearances that seem legitimate. The text is well
    written and they seem to know what they are talking about.
  • Jocelyn decides to accept the offer to
    receive the BRC information package and take more time to review their offering.
  • Business Registry issues the information
    package with an invoice.
  • The BRC package arrives that includes a cardstock
    folder with Shutterstock images on it, a one-page letter explaining how important Google Local Business Listing is and
    the invoice.
  • Jocelyn immediately called Business Registry
    Center to ask about the invoice and explaining there must be some
    misunderstanding as she only requested the information package and did not agree to the services. The agent advises Jocelyn that when she agreed to send
    her the package it was her verbal agreement to the service package and that
    they had the conversation recorded.
November to January 
  • For two months Business Call Registry
    calls non-stop. Almost every day and escalating at the end to eight or 10 times a day, often while Jocelyn was with a
    client. The calls became progressively aggressive threatening to send her to debt collector
    and destroying her credit rating. Believing the lies Jocelyn sends in her credit card
    number with the invoice.
  • Jocelyn consults friends and immediately
    calls her credit card company to cancel the transaction.
  • Following up with due diligence the credit
    card company contacts BRC about the cancellation of the transaction. RBC does not respond to the inquiry by the
    credit card company. Jocelyn is completely reimbursed by her credit card company.
  • Jocelyn details the scam to me and I then
    investigate you can see details from my findings on my earlier blog here.
  • Wanting to protect others I work with
    Jocelyn to contact Montreal Police Department, because the physical location of RBC is in Montreal, Quebec. Montreal police
    advise that this must be followed up with Ottawa Police Department.
  • Ottawa Police Department informs us that
    because the money was reimbursed there is no fraud and no charges can be laid.
  • Concerned that others might fall victim we
    contact local news teams and work with the media and social media to make others aware of this scam.

These people are preying on those who lack specialized knowledge, nothing else. They are thieves, and should be dealt with as such.  They may as well have skimmed her debit card or grabbed the cash from her register.

We can’t stop the scammers from ripping people off.  Like cockroaches, they will scurry off and set up elsewhere as soon as they can.  That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t stop them at every opportunity.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on how we can resolve these annoying scam artists. 

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