The Wall Street Journal reports that Google Maps is overrun with fake business listings created by scammers, and Google says it removed more than 3 million of them in 2018. Here’s how to report any fake businesses you see.
We’ve done this before when we noticed a nearby business listing was fake and didn’t match a real business in its location. The fake business listing vanished immediately after we reported it. By reporting any scams you see, you’ll be doing everyone who uses Google Maps a big favor.
To report a listing, locate and select the business listing in Google Maps. Click or tap the “Suggest an Edit” button.
Select “Remove this place” to tell Google the listing should be removed from Google Maps. If you’re not signed into a Google account, you’ll be prompted to log in before you continue.
(If a scammer has taken over a real business listing with a fake phone number or website, you should instead select “Change name or other details” and provide the business’s real details.)
Provide a reason for the removal—this is technically optional, but it will tell Google why the business should be removed. For example, you can select “Doesn’t exist” or “Spam, fake, or offensive” if the business is a fake listing or a scam.
You can also add a photo of the location, and Google can use this to verify the business doesn’t exist. However, we’ve never done this when reporting obvious scam businesses. If the scam isn’t entirely obvious, you can make your report stronger by taking a photo of that location.
Select “Send” to send your report. Google will get back to you via email.
The “Suggest and Edit” feature can be used for other reasons, too. You can tell Google a business has moved or closed, change its name, update its hours, or provide a new website address.