Digital Marketing scams have been around for ages and seem to keep recycling with twists based on the latest offerings or focus from Google or other venues. In recent months, I have seen the account hijacking scam attempted multiple times on different clients or prospects I have been working with. I guess the easiest answer is to just never give access to your account to someone you don’t know or trust. Often small business owners are enticed by someone helping them out with a frustrating situation and before they know it, they have given up ownership to important things like their Google Ads account or Google My Business account.
Random Requests for GMB or Google Ads Ownership
Just last night this happened again. I manage many Google My Business (GMB) pages for different clients. I had a request from an unknown source to have ownership of one of my clients GMB pages. If you get email requests like this, Google will send you the email. You can then review the request and reject it. If you haven’t already set up or discussed granting access to someone you work with, then any request is a scam artist and you should reject immediately. If you give these people access, even if it seems they are helping you fix an annoying issue, that is often their trojan horse to get access. Then they can do whatever they want with your account. Many small business owners don’t know how to grant or withdraw access to people and this is very important digital real estate to your company. You don’t want anyone to have access to control how you appear online. Make sure it is someone you trust and they tell you exactly when and with what account they will be requesting access. Better yet, go to your Users area or Admin area in your account and grant access to the people you want. Never give info to anyone over the phone that you don’t know.
Google Ads access is even riskier as the person will then have access to your payment information and your credit card information. I have heard many stories of phone calls or emails requesting access with the promises of rankings or fixing an error they say they see on your account. Don’t do it. They can’t fix a ranking issue by randomly having access to your account and if they have tips for your Google Ads, just ask them to email them to you and you will apply them yourself. Even Google themselves Google Ads tips often leave you worse off than what you are doing. I have had to fix client campaigns that Google helped them with. Remember, Google is the one you are paying for your ads. You don’t want them setting up how much and in what method you pay them. They almost always have you spend too much money on too broadly targeted campaigns. Small businesses need to be specific and spend wisely, not be broad like large corporations can do. So you already have your excuse for those fake Google people that call and try to get your info. Since you shouldn’t even listen to Google themselves, falling for this should never happen. Just ask them to send their suggestions and you will apply them. Never give them access to your accounts.