For years business owners have been getting solicited by fake SEO spammers via cold inbound email. In the last 6 months or so there has been a focused effort to attack M&A firms and business brokers. What has motivated these scammers to target firms like yours? No one really knows, but it is happening every day at an increasingly frequent rate.
You probably know the drill by now – it starts with a submission on your websites contact form/page or an email to your info@ email address. These usually start by telling you your website is not ranking in search, broken, or in need of improvement. The ask seems simple enough – I am an expert and I want to help. The tricky thing here is, the claim may be true…but keep your guard up!
Look familiar? (I got this one this morning)
At worst you might think this is a sloppy cold open sales strategy…but most have much more nefarious motives.
So, you think to yourself something like – Well, he has an American sounding name, has a real phone number and just wants to sell me something…how bad can that be?
Here is what happens when you engage these scammers
They will ask for details about your website via email, telling you they need to prepare for your call.They may be as bold as to ask for your login credentials to ‘audit your site’ ( we can do this with no login access to your site, as can most professionals).With this information they likely won’t even try to steal your money – they are after your website!
With a little information, these scammers can use your website to spam others, host illegal material or even reproduce your emails for use in other scams.
Here is how to differentiate a legitimate SEO email (like the ones I send you) from a scam email:
Look for funny grammar and indications of non-native speech. Do not write this off as sloppy writing.Google the phone number – 9 times out of 10 the number will be a Google or Skype number. If you can’t verify who is using it, don’t call it. Look for a dedicated email domain. Real professionals spend money to ensure they are using a custom email domain and address (like my @mergerlabs.com email). Scammers can’t be bothered to spend the $5 per month to look legitimate. No website = not real. All professional designers and developers have websites…this is the business we are in. Scammers don’t have time to put up hundreds of fake websites.
Need real SEO help? Talk to the trusted industry experts at Merger Labs – heck, if you don’t use us, use a local trusted resource but under no circumstances should you engage with these scam emails.