Google Maps has become a tool of necessity when it comes to connecting businesses with potential and existing customers looking for directions and other information about services.
A newly launched forum with the Business Redressal Complaint Form will let people who come across fraudulent activity report issues with business listings in Google Maps.
“If you come across a business name, phone number, or URL on Google Maps that leads to fraudulent activity, you can now submit a complaint using this form,” wrote Marissa Nordahl, community manager at Google, in a forum post.
The link leads to a form that Google will review in accordance with its guidelines, but completing and submitting this form does not guarantee the company will take action based on the request.
Forum readers were interested in learning more about the types of fraud that might apply.
Joy Hawkins, a Google My Business (GMB) product expert and owner of Sterling Sky and the Local Search Forum, stepped in to write that, per Nordahl, it is “fine to use it to report any type of GMB violation that appears in the drop-down.”
This would include keyword stuffing, although it’s not exactly “fraud,” she wrote. It is, however, a violation to Google’s guidelines. There’s a field in the form to enter the item. She also notes that the requests will be reviewed by a human.
One important question that went unanswered was focused on what to do if the star rating is fraudulent.
It’s not unusual for a business to ask customers to post five-star reviews. Most consumers these days, including myself, will check reviews before visiting a restaurant or store, even if it means sitting in the parking lot and looking up the information on my phone.