Google has filed a lawsuit against a malicious individual responsible for creating fake reviews and listings on Google Search, Maps, and YouTube. The lawsuit claims that this individual attempted to deceive consumers and business owners by fraudulently manipulating Google’s small business services.
According to the lawsuit, the malicious individual posted over 350 fraudulent Business Profiles, attempting to boost their credibility with more than 14,000 fake reviews. They then tried to sell information about consumers who had been lured in by these false claims.
Google states that it detected and removed the deceptive content, but is taking legal action to prevent the individual from scamming other platforms and protect its users.
This lawsuit is part of Google’s wider effort to combat fake reviews and other forms of online deception. In 2022, Google shielded over 185,000 businesses from further abuse after detecting suspicious activity and abuse attempts, while also stopping 20 million attempts to create fake Business Profiles.
Google is dedicated to providing accurate and reliable information to its users. In collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other regulators, the company is working to hold malicious individuals accountable for creating fake reviews and other deceptive online practices.
To avoid falling victim to fake reviews, consumers should:
- Approach reviews with skepticism, especially if they’re overly positive or negative.
- Keep an eye out for reviews written in a conversational tone, offering precise details about the product or service.
- Investigate the reviewer’s history of writing reviews.
- Flag any dubious reviews to Google.
By adhering to these pointers, consumers can shield themselves from falling prey to counterfeit reviews.