Data from Hiya highlighted an increased number of robocalls that target Google Business Profile users in an attempt to get them to pay non-existent fees.

The US-based call performance management company noted the free profiles list a business’s name, phone number, hours of operation and driving directions to help consumers and attract new customers.

The company’s honeypot uses hundreds of thousands of Hiya-owned numbers to record spam calls, including more than 17,000 Google Business Profile robocalls.

The robocalls employ various strategies such as asking the businesses to verify their profiles or telling them their accounts have been flagged for review.

The calls request the users pay a fee to make changes to their accounts or verify them, but Hiya noted Google provides the profiles for free.

The names of the ‘Google partners’ making the calls change, as do the phone numbers they use to call from. Each month, Hiya has received more than 2,000 reports of Google Business Profile scams.

Hiya stated in its report that some of the calls were to users who don’t own businesses, leading it “to believe that these may be random robocalls rather than calls targeted specifically to businesses”. Calls were also made to Hiya’s honeypot numbers, which are unlisted.

According to Hiya, Google is aware of scammers attempting to profit from its business profiles and filed a lawsuit against one of them last year in the US.

The company’s data showed the highest volume of those calls were received in the following countries (in order): US, Canada, UK, Australia, Italy, Germany, India, Spain, and Poland.