Google Maps is being misused by fraudsters to mint money. These fraudsters are targetting online liquor buyers in Mumbai. The issue was first noticed by Twitter user @DrunkenPandaman when he tried to place an order from a liquor shop via Google Maps. He observed the same phone number was mentioned for multiple wine shops on Google maps.
According to a report by Android Police, customers who call on this number are asked to pay in advance for the liquor. Once the payment is made digitally, the fraudsters stop responding.
In fact, a Mumbai resident, who had placed an order from Ujjwal wines, reportedly lost Rs 1.25 lakh, Business Insider reported. When the victim went to the police station, he discovered that Ujjwal wines had filed a police complaint claiming the shop's name was being used to con people.
Mumbai Twitterverse, there's a number showing up on all wine shop Google images across Mumbai. If you call the number, they take your order and then ask for your card number. But it's not the— Prateek Pant (@DrunkenPandaman) February 1, 2019
actual Wine shop so please RT this
Please do not share your card details@MumbaiPolicepic.twitter.com/DbwBkg80AU
Google has issued a statement after the incident. "Spammers and others with negative intent are a problem for consumers, businesses and technology companies that provide local business information. We're always working on new and better ways to fight these issues and keep our information up to date. We use automated and manual systems to detect for spam and fraud, but we tend not to share details behind our processes so as not to tip off spammers or others with bad intent.
We take allegations of fraud very seriously. When an issue like this one is reported to us, we investigate the claims. Upon completion of the investigation, we take actions in line with our findings," it said.
Google has also removed pictures on some listings. Some wine shops have written warnings such as "Don't call on numbers posted on images" along with the listings.