Google Maps has millions of fake business listings

Written 12 months ago by IanDorfman

In a report published by The Wall Street Journal, it was discovered that 11 million fake business listings can be found on Small Google Maps iconGoogle Maps. In addition to these existing listings, additional fake addressed and phone numbers arrive on a monthly basis. The reasons for these false listings vary: Some listings are the product of businesses submitting false contact information for competing businesses as an act of corporate subterfuge, while other times the listings could be impersonating real businesses in order to attract unsuspecting victims.

In response to The Wall Street Journal's report, Google has removed all of the fake entries that it identified. Additionally, the company has published a blog post laying out some key statistics involving its moderation of Maps:

• [Google] took down more than 3 million fake business profiles––and more than 90 percent of those business profiles were removed before a user could even see the profile.
• [Google's] internal systems were responsible for more than 85 percent of these removals.
• More than 250,000 of the fake business profiles [Google] removed were reported to [the company] by users.
• [Google] disabled more than 150,000 user accounts that were found to be abusive – a 50 percent increase from 2017.

The post concluded with links that instruct how to report both individual businesses and multiple businesses, as well as a commitment "to keep doing better" to defend against scam listings on the Google Maps service.

Further coverage:
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
Engadget
Google Blog