One of the things people love about Google Maps is that it has business listings. This means that in addition to being able to pin down the location of a store you want to visit, it can provide additional details like a link to its website, a phone number, operating hours, and of course, reviews about the store and its services.
However, it seems that you should probably take these listings with a grain of salt because according to a recent finding by The Wall Street Journal, they claim that Google Maps is actually home to millions of fake business listings. Based on their findings, it seems that there are about 11 million or so fake listings.
These fake listings are used by competitors to lure customers away from the competition by creating false addresses and fake phone numbers. It can also be used to impersonate a business where it will lure unsuspecting customers to their stores instead of the actual store. It has also been used by fake repair services where you might end up getting charged more than what an actual contractor or repair service could charge.
Google has since responded to the report in a blog post on their website. The company notes that they have since taken down the fake listings that were profiled in the report, and also reiterated that they have been working behind the scenes to try and take down fake listings where possible. They have also announced new safeguards for what they call “high-risk categories” to further protect customers.
While this isn’t to say that all listings on Google Maps is fake, you should probably do a bit more research before simply believing what you see.