The number of fake live listings was also targeted since June 2015, when it was at its highest peak. The American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products determined that most of these come from its “My Business” services which end up affecting not just Google Maps but also Google Search.
Researchers from University of California, San Diego, did a study in collaboration with Google that helped determine the nature of abuse on Google Maps and how it can be stopped. Attempts made by bad people around the world to extort customers and to defraud businesses are made now very hard thanks to algorithm updates and a more strict listing process. Data from the study shows that roughly 40 percent of the fake live listings were bad actors posing as electricians, plumbers, etc. Although Google disables such fake listings on a regular basis and bans their phone numbers, perpetrators were found to be using different VOIP numbers to avoid easy flagging. Another worrying fact is that 10 percent of the fake listings were determined to have belonged to actually legitimate businesses at one point in time after which scammers managed to claim ownership on.