Category: Author: Lori Shepherd
There was a time when watermelons were pretty expensive in Tokyo. In fact, they would reach up to 20x more expensive than melons in the states. Con artists around the world used to take advantage of this knowledge to get money from Japanese tourists.
The con consisted of buying a watermelon from the con artist’s hometown. Then the con artist would “bump” into the Japanese tourists causing the melon to drop out of their hands and bust open on the ground. The Japanese tourists would be guilted into taking responsibility for the damage and end up paying the con artist up to $100 US dollars for the melon; unaware that the cost of the watermelon was significantly cheaper in that part of the world. You may think this tactic is crazy and would be easy to identify, but scam artists are still dropping melons today! Albeit in different ways… And if you think these scams are easy to identify, consider this recent post by Linda Buquet, a local search expert who recently received a “bump” from a stranger.
Linda is a Google local specialist and Google top contributor who was surprised to receive a call from someone saying they wanted to talk about her Google business listing. She was initially greeted with a robot saying the call was from Google and that her listing was at risk of being deleted, she was then connected with a real live person who, again, explicitly stated he worked for Google. Intrigued, Linda stayed on the line and quickly began recording the call. The man on the other line said she could get her listing verified (or in his words “boosted”) with a one time fee of $299. Linda ‘played dumb’ for a while but after minutes of back and forth she finally let the man know that she worked for Google. Then Linda confidently declared, “You do not work for Google.” The phone suddenly went dead. You can read the full post on her blog and even listen to the audio here.
In this con, the listing was the broken melon. The con artists were trying to convince Linda to take responsibility for it by paying way more than the real cost of the listing. In this case, if Linda had fallen for the scam she would have paid a 299% markup!
Since the publication of Linda’s blog post, clients have reported to me receiving phone calls that sound eerily similar to the fake Google employee, which has prompted me to write this blog post. If you are reading this and are a client of Infinity Dental Web it is important that you know what a watermelon costs. In this case, a Google business listing is FREE and we have already claimed and verified it for you. You do not have to pay Google for any service related to your listing. If you are ever confronted with this situation, kindly remind the caller that you already know what a watermelon costs.