On The Hill: Radar Hill Blog

Scam Alert Signs

Online Scams to Be Aware Of

Est. reading time 5 minutes

When it comes to Internet scams, there are a wide variety of them targeting people and businesses, and they are increasingly more sophisticated. Over the course of our long history of managing websites and the online presence of clients, we’ve seen more than a few of these scams. So here are some of the most common ones we’ve seen, and how you can make sure you avoid them in the future. 

Google Profile Scam

As we’ve alluded to in the past, having a Google Business profile is an essential part of the online presence of any business — but this also makes it a common target area for scammers. There are a variety of scams that use Google Business profiles as an exploit, but one of the most common is to cold call someone claiming to be either representing Google itself, or an agency working with Google. 

We’ve had some of our clients report to us that they’ve been receiving robocalls from a Google "agency" claiming that their Google Business Listing has been flagged as unclaimed, meaning anyone could take it. They then offer to take care of the listing. This is where the scam comes in, as it's designed to exploit a lack of understanding as to how the listing works, as well as offering a service they can’t or won’t fulfill in exchange. They will just take your money and run. 

Sometimes these scammers can be even more aggressive and brazen, with a phone call that will inform you that your listing will be suspended if you don’t pay a set fee. This is a scare tactic scam, and often the caller will be very aggressive and demanding in their demeanor, but the reality is that this is something Google wouldn’t do. Having a Google My Business profile is a completely free service provided by Google.

It is absolutely important that you do have your Google Profile claimed, but it isn’t something you should be pressured or cold called into doing, especially from an unverified source. You can do it yourself, or have us do it for you. And if you’re a client of ours, there’s a high chance it’s already been done! If you’re unsure, either ask us to confirm or go to to check if your listing is there.

Google does call people legitimately sometimes, but it will be an automated message asking you to confirm an aspect of your listing-such as opening hours. And there will be no request to sign up for a service, make a payment, or provide sensitive personal information. If you do receive any calls like that, just hang up and block the number. 

Domain Name Scam

This is one of the oldest and most common scams on the Internet, and it’s one we’ve seen bother our clients since we first started out doing our work here. In those over two decades now, we’ve routinely had clients ask us about an email or letter that they’ve received claiming their domain name is up for renewal and payment is required. 

These scammers are trying to transfer your domain away from your current provider (at a cost) plus will try and scam more money from you later on. While it’s true your domain does need to be renewed every year or two, it will not come from a company you have not heard from. 

Your domain name is precious, do not haphazardly trust it to anyone who is trying to get control of it or extract money unnecessarily. If you are a Radar Hill client chances are we maintain your domain, and if we don’t we know who does so don’t hesitate to ask us directly if you need any assistance. 

The Gacillia Nut / Agroamerica Scam

This one is a little bit niche but it’s one we have regularly encountered, as it’s often used to target web designers. It will begin with a fairly innocuous request for a website, usually followed by an explanation of their business along the lines of “we are a growing, small scale agricultural enterprise involved in the importation and exportation of fresh agricultural products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa.” Which all definitely seems above board. Except there is no such thing as a Gacillia Nut.

This is a fairly sophisticated scam, as any follow up questions a web designer asks, such as what the site should look like, a (very generous) budget range, what domain name is wanted etc will be met with answers. They’ll then inform you that they already have a project coordinator/content manager who has the content for the website ready to go. 

Then, according to other reports on the internet, they’ll ask you to pay this project coordinator in order to get the content. This is a huge red flag — never be the middle person for money. Do not accept money in order to give it to someone else, the money you “receive” will bounce and you will be out of the real money you sent!

Email Scam: Open Links or Attachments

This is one of the more common phishing scams, and usually relies on the fact that many of us scan our emails rather than reading them in detail. Usually the email will claim the attachment comes from a company such as FedEx and that you need to download an attachment to view important information. 

Recently, scammers using these sorts of tactics have switched from virus attachments — which can be caught by your email’s spam filters — to instructing you to access Google Drive or a DropBox file, which will then give you the viral link. 

But the advice in both cases is the same: you should never click to a second party link or download anything from an unverified sender or a suspiciously vague email. 

Fake Website Scams

As we mentioned above, you should always be careful when clicking on links from unverified senders. This includes when the link is to a website that may appear legitimate, but is in fact a copy. Their goal is to convince you that you need to login to the fake website, giving away an email address and password which they will use to login to your actual account in order to steal your information. 

For any email, always verify the sender’s email address, and if in doubt go to the source itself. For example, if you get a link from Netflix about your account, you can just sign in directly with Netlfix in your own browser and bypass the email. If you receive an unsolicited unprompted email from a business with a link, take a moment to assess the situation. There is always time to protect yourself. 

Report Scams

If you have been the victim of a scam, it is important to report it. Here are a few steps to take in order to report fraud and here is where you can do it online or you can call 1-888-495-8501. 

When it comes to making sure your business has a safe and secure online presence, you need to work with trusted and reliable companies. With over 20 years of experience, you can count on Radar Hill to manage your online presence. To find out more, contact us today!