A malicious practice is becoming a headache for the search giant Google as millions of hijackers are taking over legitimate business listings on Google Maps in order to make you think that you are contacting the actual business. According to the latest report by The Wall Street Journal, there are around 11 million “falsely listed businesses” on any given day on Google Maps.
As you know that creating a business listing on Google Maps is free and quite easy indeed. Businesses can simply verify their listing’s address and phone number via SMS message, a phone call or a postcard mailed to their listed location. The easiness of this process lead to Google Map’s enormous growth i.e. 150 million businesses, which are currently listed on Google My Business and the tech giant earns a lot of profit from this large user base. However, the ease of joining this online site also opened the door for millions of scammers, which now Google will have to deal with regularly.
Moreover, Google has responded to the claims made by WSJ and has explained that it is taking steps to take down the identified fake listings. Google claims it has added new safeguards for “high-risk categories” in its business listings. These security features include contractors and repair services, which consumers usually only use in emergency scenarios and have little time to research. Due to these loopholes in a business listing, Google took down more than 3 million false business profiles and disabled 150,000 accounts used to make them, back in 2018.
Moreover, Google has explained in a blog post that its internal systems flagged “more than 85 percent of these removals” and over 250,000 fake profiles were reported by users. Google Maps product director Ethan Russell wrote;
“Every month Maps is used by more than a billion people around the world, and every day we and our users work as a community to improve the map for each other. We know that a small minority will continue trying to scam others, so there will always be work to do and we’re committed to keep doing better.“
Google has to make sure that most if not all fake business listings are removed from its site, or otherwise, it would be a big mess for locals using this service.