Some people play dirty. If you’ve decided to claim your business profile on Google’s My Business, and find that it’s already verified — but not by you — you have a problem. Someone has pretended to be you to control your profile.

Why worry? The unscrupulous person may be a competitor who’s directing your potential customers to their website, or worse, posting negative reviews under your business name. Yikes!

If you find out that someone has claimed your business page, it’s time to take action.

How to Take Back Your Business Listing on Google

Each business listing can only have one owner. However, up to 50 managers can have authorized access to the page and update various aspects of the business information. So, it’s possible that up to 51 people can alter the details presented about your business on Google search, Google+ and Google Maps.

If it seems like an error, simply contact the current owner of the listing and explain your situation. Ask them to transfer ownership to you, and be on your way.

However, if a competitor is running the show and not cooperating with your request to cease and desist, contact Google directly on their My Business page. You’ll need a Google account to get started. Then, expect to be asked what type of business you own: storefront business, service business or representing an organization.

As you move through the process of claiming your business you will receive a message that says your business has already been verified. Be sure to choose the “Request Admin Rights” option that pops up, so you can regain control of the business page.

Expect to answer a series of questions about your business to verify that you are indeed to the true owner. It can take up to a week for Google to evaluate the answers, and get in contact with the current page owner, before transferring the profile to you.

The key here is persistence. If you don’t get a response within a week, follow-up with Google. Then once you gain control of the listing, do a full audit of every bit of data they shared. Update phone numbers and addresses. Check for broken hyperlinks. Delete unsavory social media updates on Google+.

And finally, post a welcome message from you and your business on Google+. Explain this is your first post and you’re glad to be online. Then, wow everyone with amazing customer service moving forward!

Angela is a contributor to the Connectivity blog. She also writes about content marketing and working online at Web Writing Advice. Angela was ranked in the Yahoo! Top 1000 Writers from 2009-2013.