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August 14, 2023

Business Listings Management: Safeguarding your Business from Risks and Scams

Effective business listings management goes beyond just online visibility - it can also serve as a crucial component of your business’s risk management strategy.

Nobody is a stranger to the threat posed by scammers and online fraud. Daily, we decline spam calls, delete shady emails, and avoid clicking suspicious links.  

While we’re slowly getting better at recognizing those classic red flags for online scams (threats of unusual activity, requests for money, etc.) they’re still a big problem for online consumers and local businesses. 

Last year, consumers lost over $8.8 billion to scams. 

For a small business working to establish trust, the threat of scams can do a lot of damage to your customer relationships. While there’s no shortage of ways to safeguard your business from online fraudsters, one of the simplest is to actively monitor your online listings. 

In this post, we’ll cover how listings management is a form of risk management and how it can help you establish brand security and customer trust. 

What are Listings?

Your online listings refer to any page that displays your business information online -  i.e. your business name, address, phone number, business hours, etc.

Screenshot 2023-08-10 at 12.03.50 PM

At any given point, whether you’re actively managing your listings or not, your business likely has 80+ listings across the web. Whether these listings are on review sites, your social media pages, or your Google Business Profile (GBP), it’s important to keep all of your listings information accurate and uniform across all platforms. Why? 

Keeping your business listings accurate is essential to building and maintaining trust. It ensures that potential customers can easily find and access your products/services - making your business more accessible and successful overall. It also establishes consistency and trust across various search engines, strengthening your brand’s search engine optimization.

In today's competitive landscape, and with fraud losses increasing, businesses can’t afford to neglect listings management and its direct impact on customer perception and loyalty.

To learn more details about what Listings Management is, check out our post: What Is Local Business Listing Management and Why Is It Important?

Listings Management = Risk Management 

Apart from protecting your business’s reputation and increasing visibility to potential customers, accurate listings are a powerful scam-prevention and risk-management tool. 

Local businesses are especially vulnerable without in-house cybersecurity teams but even large enterprises are at risk. Having multiple locations and hundreds of listings for each can even make it easier for scams to go undetected.

Scammers target businesses by finding and exploiting disorganized and inconsistent business listings. Using a tactic called "malvertising," they can list their own false information for your business online to deceive unsuspecting customers into falsely making payments, placing orders, etc. An incorrect phone number, address, or email address in your business listings - anywhere across the web - is all it takes for a scammer to have unfiltered access to your customers.  

A prime example of this type of fraud was experienced just last month, by a traveler named Shmuli Evers. After his flight from JFK to Florida was canceled, Evers attempted to contact Delta’s customer service line via the number listed on Google. 

After a short automated prompt from what was assumed to be Delta’s helpline, the call dropped. Shortly after, Evers received a call back during which a scammer repeatedly tried to collect his payment information to rebook a flight. 

The listing for Delta had been falsely created by a scammer. Evers stated that multiple airlines were similarly afflicted with fraudulent listing numbers, leaving countless travelers vulnerable to online fraud tactics and scams. 

This type of fraud happens often, and as demonstrated by Evers’ experiences, to businesses of all sizes. Using a tool that actively monitors for inconsistencies in your business listings and maintaining accurate information creates a barrier against these types of deceitful tactics. 

How to Manage Your Listings: 

Local listings are the key to drawing in new customers, but it can be tough to know how to start managing them accurately, especially across multiple sites.  

To streamline the process and ensure that your listings remain current, complete, and consistent with your recent standing, many businesses trust their listings to a 
listings management service. 

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing which listings solution is right for your business, but the main priority remains the same: to maintain accuracy across multiple platforms.

With Widewail’s centralized Listing Management solution, all of your listings are monitored and regulated via one intuitive dashboard. 

Any changes you make to your contact information will be updated automatically across your entire network of review sites, search engines, mobile apps, navigation devices, voice search interfaces & more. Further, any data inconsistencies will be identified and remedied automatically - safeguarding you from scammers and fraud tactics.

With a tool like Widewail’s Listings Management, any cases of scammers tampering with your business’s listing information, such as phone number and website, would be flagged for your team’s awareness and resolved promptly.

The right listings management service can strengthen your online presence and protect your business from threats. Scammers thrive on misinformation and confusion. Ensuring that potential customers encounter consistent and trustworthy information about your business protects both your customers and your long-term reputation.

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Emily Keenan

Originally from Scarborough, Maine, I moved to Vermont after graduating from St. Lawrence University, where I received my BA in English and Spanish. I have always been interested in writing and communication, which is what initially drew me to the Review Response Specialist position at Widewail. In my spare time, I can be found reading, playing electric guitar, or strolling/biking around one of Burlington’s many scenic trails. I always welcome the opportunity to talk about my work, and invite anyone with questions or comments to reach out or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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