Fake 1-Star Google Reviews Restaurant Scam:
What you can do as a Restaurant Owner

Scammers are flooding restaurants with one-star reviews to extort money from owners.

To customers and business owners alike, good reviews are of paramount importance. In fact, research has shown that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as they would a friend’s recommendation.

We have a number of restaurant clients so we thought we should shed some more info on why these nasty pieces of work (scammers) are doing this to businesses that are already struggling in many cases, post-pandemic.

So how does the scam work and what can you as a restaurant owner do about it?

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google guaranteed

The scam goes like this:

They leave a 1 star review usually with no information. Just an infuriating 1 star!

As the unwitting restaurant owner you’re both upset and frustrated. Upset because that 1 star review has probably taken your overall Google review score down a notch or 2. Frustrated because they didn’t give any information as to what caused them to review your restaurant so badly (so no room to make things better or make amends).

Then they make their move: The restaurant gets an email that goes something like this:

‘“Hello, unfortunately, negative feedback about your establishment has been sent by us.

We sincerely apologize for our actions, and would not want to harm your business, but we have no other choice. The fact is that we live in India and see how other way to survive. We are begging you to send us google play gift card worth $75. After selling this gift card we can earn approximately $50, which is three weeks of income for one family.”

The good news is that Google is aware of the scam and you can ask Google to remove fake Google reviews.

It’s not as easy as simply clicking “remove,” but you do have the ability to remove any reviews that violate Google’s policies for leaving reviews. That includes the removal of fake reviews from people who never did business with you. There are a few different ways to do this.

Firstly, check all your company records, CRM etc. to ensure that it is indeed a fake review. Once you’ve ascertained this, there are a couple of ways to try and get it removed:

How to Flag and Report Fake Google Reviews

There are a couple of ways to get rid of those pesky fake reviews.

Go to the review on Google Maps. Click on the three vertical dots in the top right of the review (see image below), and then click “Report Review”.

Select the reason (if it is a scammer, competitor or someone who has an axe to grind with you personally for whatever reason) the reason will be ‘SPAM’ i.e. Review is from a bot, a fake account or contains ads and promotions. Click ‘Send Report’ and you’re done.

NB: DO NOT CHOOSE THIS UNLESS YOU ARE SURE IT IS FAKE. Google will penalise you if you have an excess of reviews that you are flagging and they turn out to be legitimate.

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