A collaboration between researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Google has enabled the Internet company to reduce the number of fraudulent businesses in Google Maps by 70%.
The researchers analyzed more than 100,000 fraudulent listings to determine how scammers had been able to avoid detection and how they made money.
The team discovered a new form of blackhat search engine optimization that targets local listing services such as Google Maps. For example, when users run a search on a mobile device, the search engine uses their physical location as one of the inputs to decide which results to display. The scammers exploit this by using fake locations to make it look like their business is in close proximity to the user doing the search.
The team says scammers make money when they get called to help a user based on a fake listing.
From UCSD News (CA)
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