Google+ Local Fake Address Scam

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Linda Buquet

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Well I've wondered about and have also discovered many creative ways people are gaming Google to get additional fake addresses in cities they aren't actually located in.

Just discovered a new one via a post at the Google forum. Some company is paying $50 via Craigslist for people to offer their home address to get Google Local Pins. Note: They mention this is specifically for service area businesses, so address will be hidden.

I copied one of the ads below in case it's removed.

Easy fast $$$ - Link to one. There are more.

Title: Easiest $50 you'll ever make

Do you live in or around a major city with a large population? Want to make $50 for doing basically nothing?

Our company helps nationwide businesses get a google "location" in areas where they operate but do not have an office.

Here's how it works:

-You provide us with home address and contact name (should be same as current resident)
-Google will send you a postcard with a PIN code
-Email us the pin code
-We PayPal or deposit $50 into your account

Frequently asked questions:
Q: Is this a scam?
A: No, we pay everyone who participates. If you make us happy we will return the favor.

Q: Will my address have a business listed all over the Internet?
A: No, we only provide this service to people who provide a service at a customers location (Example: Plumber). Your address will be hidden
And here's a screenshot too.

THIS is one of the reasons the Google Local guidelines have to be strict and why sometimes the babies get thrown out with the bathwater. Scams like this, just make it harder for honest businesses. :mad:
 

BCLocal

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Wow, that's ridiculous. Sure, the unsuspecting participant's address may not show up in the +Local listing, but it WILL show up in all of the citations created for it. Sad spammy technique. I wonder what agency is behind it.
 

Linda Buquet

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Ya the Vigilante in me would like to email and follow the trail, out these guys and help bust them. But no time and not my job. It's been reported to Google, so if they want they can sic the spam team on it.
 

Linda Buquet

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What these people don't know (which we have learned on another thread) is that their address will most likely still display live on Google Map Maker. :eek:

Linda, do you have a link to the forum thread where this came up?
Yep true on the MM link Colan, as we know all too well. :eek:

Sorry, meant to post the forum link in case anything else comes up in that thread.

Hi, my competitor has one location yet he has managed to obtain multiple listings in google maps over 3-4 locations. He now has greater coverage although he works from only 1 location. Is this allowed?
 
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There was another on the WarriorForum teaching a trick. The post seems to have been removed.

The trick was to get a postcard mailed to an address that couldn't receive mail. So the purpose was to deliberately order a postcard for a location near city center that could NOT receive mail.

In the second line of the business address, you were supposed to put another address that COULD receive mail.

So the idea was that the post office would try the first location, fail and then mail it to the second location.

The person suggested that PO Boxes wouldn't work in the 2nd line, but you could use "another" address.

Apparently this works well for him.
 
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Wow...although I have to hand it to this company for thinking outside of the box. I wonder how many people actually replied to the ad. Just reading the ad sounds kind of creepy. "Give us your address for Google and we'll give you $50 (and then come rob you because we know where you live...lol)." You would think anyone reading that ad would run as fast as they could the other way.

Travis Van Slooten
 

Flash

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In the second line of the business address, you were supposed to put another address that COULD receive mail.
Yet another reason why Places needs to quit accepting free-form addresses.

Those will show in Map Maker, though, and when spotted the listing will likely be removed.
 
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Maybe it's not real. Maybe it's really Yelp spies who set this up to catch people who would try to game Google's system :p

Really good find Linda. What a tangled web we weave...
 

Colan Nielsen

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Linda Buquet

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I got red dots for sale. Who wants a red dot! :p

Dear Mr. business owner. I paid $25 in Pizza Hut gift cards for this precious red dot on the map.
I'll sell it to you for a steal. Only $200 a month. :rolleyes:
 

Phil Rozek

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Amazing. These guys are like mold that grows in the bathroom at the gas station. They do not go away.
 
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Man I totally agree with Travis, the first thing that jumped out at me is the creepy factor. Especially coming from Craigslist.
 

Linda Buquet

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Google should do what Yelp did and start replying to the ads and then busting the people who do it.
Yep that was my 1st thought too Joy. A sting operation!

If I had the time, I'd do it, just for fun and for a story. Record the email convo. Then say I had Qs and ask for a call. Record the call. Share it all! :eek:

Hey Phil... Got a story lead for ya! :p
 
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Hi All:
I would love it for anyone to grab this and do a huge story on it.

In Arizona, section ARS 44-1221 makes it a criminal offense and civil consumer fraud issue to "intentionally deceive anyone as to the geographic origin or location of their business".

I have been pursuing several companies in civil court since 2010 based solely on this issue.

The fact that [name removed] has gone from a supposedly reputable locksmith to someone that is openly bribing people to co-conspire with him to violate consumer fraud laws in multiple states.

I would love to elaborate on this subject to anyone who would like to listen and anyone finding current postings from this guy in any market is encouraged to send me all of the relevant information including the URL, posting#, date & time, and location. Information can be given directly and confidentially at 800-313-5397.

Have a GREAT DAY!
Charley
 
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