Ghost company is bulldozing Google Maps

There are about 11 million fake businesses that exist on the Google Maps platform, causing great disadvantages for real companies and customers. An investigation from Wall Street Journal pointed out that Google Maps is the platform that flooded with fake companies. An estimated 11 million virtual addresses exist. Although Google stated in a 2017 study that only 0.5% of search results were virtual addresses, the WSJ survey showed a difference. When looking for “plumber” in New York, the reporters recorded 13/20 bogus results. Meanwhile, only 2 businesses actually adhere to Google’s guidelines – stipulating that the list of display locations must be truly open and can welcome customers. Contracting, repair and towing companies account for the majority of virtual address lists. Google sees these units as the biggest concern, because users often find them in an emergency and don’t have much time to verify business information. In contrast, restaurants and hotels are often reliable addresses. They always exist as declared on Google Maps. Although Google often verifies business information by calling, sending postcards or confirmation emails, this system can easily be fooled by crooks. Address gaps hurt companies and customers, while scammers and Google benefit. Google responded by removing a series of virtual addresses, according to the Wall Street Journal’s list. A spokesman said the company has added new defense measures to vulnerable businesses. In addition, Google said it is looking for ways to detect suspicious businesses. Also guide users to report fraudulent activities using the Business Complaint Form.