Back to Back Issues Page
Watch For Scams Newsletter. Fake Bad Restaurant Reviews
July 13, 2022

Fake Bad Restaurant Reviews

Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

If you like this ezine, do a friend a big favor and forward this to them. If a friend forwarded this to you, and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting the link below:

Subscribe Here

Fake Bad Restaurant Reviews

Scammers Threaten Restaurants With Flood of Bad Reviews Unless They Get Gift Cards.

Pandemic-ravaged restaurants — some of which still struggling through staffing shortages — now have a new complication to face, as an extortion scam from international blackmailers is hitting eateries where it hurts the most: their reputations.

Some restaurants suddenly started seeing multiple 1-star reviews pop up online that set off red flags for their owners.

Some restaurants stated that they enjoy the likes of 500 positive reviews and don't get 1-star reviews very often at all, so when they see this consistently they start to get worried and frustrated. Consistent bad reviews can be very damaging to a bar or restaurant.

But the bad review kept on coming in — and then the ransom emails arrived. They demanded money in online gift cards to remove the negative posts.

They were saying 'We are from India, we are very poor, send us a $75 Google gift card, we get $50 of that and that feeds us for three weeks'.

However after some digging it became obvious the same accounts posting on their page appeared to also be targeting other local restaurants, and beyond.

One restaurant stated they had never seen anything like this. It was creative, coordinated, very organized, and technically savvy. It exposes a specific and really mean attack on independent bars and restaurants, and it could be anybody as this kind of thing is really impactful.

A Google spokesperson said that they were actively investigating the case, saying "our policies clearly state reviews must be based on real experiences, and when we find policy violations, we take swift action ranging from content removal to account suspension and even litigation."

If you believe you have been a victim of this type of scam you should promptly report it to the IC3's website at The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration.

Remember - always watch for scams!


Back to Back Issues Page