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Google Maps Flooded by 11 Million False Listings; Fights to Remove Fake Business Profiles

Occasionally, business scammers take advantage of local listings to make a profit

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Google Maps has added more than 45,000 community and public toilets as part of the Central government's "Loo Review" campaign, according to media reports. Pixabay

Admitting that fake business profiles were lurking people on Google Maps, the company has said it was working hard to remove bad actors before they could scam customers.

Reacting to media reports that Google Maps is flooded by about 11 million false listings and phone numbers that reroute to competing businesses, the company said local business scammers have been a thorn in the Internet’s side for over a decade.

“Over the years, we’ve added more than 200 million places to Google Maps and every month we connect people to businesses more than nine billion times, including more than one billion phone calls and three billion requests for directions,” Ethan Russell, Product Director, Google Maps, said in a blog post.

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Occasionally, business scammers take advantage of local listings to make a profit. Pixabay

Occasionally, business scammers take advantage of local listings to make a profit. They do things like charge business owners for services that are actually free, defraud customers by posing as real businesses, and impersonate real businesses to secure leads and then sell them.

“Even though fake business profiles are a small percentage of the overall business profiles on Google, local business scammers have been a thorn in the Internet’s side for over a decade,a said Russell.

The media reports last week claimed that majority of businesses on Google Maps that are not at their listed locations and the ones most prone to these scams include contractors, repairmen and car towing services.

According to Google, these scammers use a wide range of deceptive techniques to try to game its system a” as we shut them down, they change their techniques, and the cycle continues. “It’s a constant balancing act and wea¿re continually working on new and better ways to fight these scams using a variety of ever-evolving manual and automated systems,” said Google.

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Google Maps is flooded by about 11 million false listings and phone numbers that reroute to competing businesses. Pixabay

The company took took down more than three million fake business profiles last year — and more than 90 per cent of those business profiles were removed before a user could even see the profile. “Our internal systems were responsible for more than 85 percent of these removals. More than 250,000 of the fake business profiles we removed were reported to us by users,” said Google.

ALSO READ: Internet of Things: Children at Greater Risk in Digital Era

It disabled more than 150,000 user accounts that were found to be abusive – a 50 per cent increase from 2017. “This year, we’ve already introduced a new way to report suspicious business profiles and have started to apply refined techniques to business categories where we’re seeing an increase in fraud attempts,” the tech giant informed.

People can flag individual business profiles for removal. They can also report multiple business profiles at once via the business redressal form to kick off the review process. (IANS)

Next Story

Google Maps Now Adding Support for Bike-sharing Stations

Besides, the search engine giant has introduced features like Augmented Reality (AR) navigation feature and off-route alert feature on Maps as well

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A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

To make Maps more useful for users, Google is adding support for bike-sharing stations to let people be informed on docked bike sharing services near them.

The feature has been testing in New York City for the last year and is now expanding to 23 more cities including Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, London and Los Angeles among others, The Verge reported on Tuesday.

The new integration is made possible from data provided by Ito World, which provides information on where to find a bike-sharing station, how many bikes are available there and whether or not there’s a space waiting for you to dock your bike when you arrive at your destination.

The feature is being rolled out to Android, as well as iOS devices and even though the feature has not reached India as yet, Google plans to expand the feature to other countries shortly.

On a similar issue, on December 2018, Google Maps gained a feature to direct users towards shared Lime scooters and bikes, the report said.

google maps
Google Maps is flooded by about 11 million false listings and phone numbers that reroute to competing businesses. Pixabay

Since the beginning of 2019, Google has been testing and introducing several new features on Maps.

After running tests in the US and elsewhere, earlier in May, Google rolled out speed limits and mobile radar locations in over 40 countries, including India.

Also Read: Here’s Why Instagram Users Want to ‘Throw Away’ the App Now

In July 2019, Maps also added more than 45,000 community and public toilets as part of the Central government’s “Loo Review” campaign that covers 1,700 cities in India.

Besides, the search engine giant has introduced features like Augmented Reality (AR) navigation feature and off-route alert feature on Maps as well. (IANS)