Google files lawsuit over fake review scams

Google has filed a lawsuit against scammers who use Google Maps and Business Profiles to post fake businesses and fake reviews. The lawsuit aims to stop the “complex and misleading scheme to deceive consumers, business owners, and Google” by manipulating Google’s business listing services. The defendants in the lawsuit are Ethan QiQi Hu, GMBEye, Rafadigital, LLC, and Does 1-20.

According to Google, the defendants have created fake online listings for nonexistent businesses and supplemented them with fake reviews from non-existent people. They then sell these listings, along with inquiries from confused consumers, to individuals and entities looking to promote their businesses on Google platforms. The defendants also make unsubstantiated claims about their ability to guarantee a favorable position in Google’s search results and imply preferential treatment or access to certain Google processes.

The court document provides detailed information, including screenshots and the alleged methods used by the defendants. Google has taken action in the past to combat this type of fraud, including filing lawsuits, not only in the local search but also in web search.

The outcome of this lawsuit remains to be seen. It is unclear whether it will deter scammers who have not yet been sued by Google or lead to a reduction in spam and scams on Google Maps and Google Local. However, it is encouraging that Google is taking steps beyond just removing spam and fake profiles to target these deceptive practices.


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