Google Maps’ Bank Listings Updated by Scammers


Scammers are taking advantage of Google Maps by modifying the contact information of the service’s bank listings. After replacing banks’ legitimate phone numbers with numbers of their own, the attackers wait for victims to call and then trick them into revealing sensitive information.

This scam is harder to detect than most, since the victim is the one who initiates contact with a supposedly trusted source. The scammers know that anyone who calls the number will think they are calling their bank, which likely gives the scammers a much higher rate of success than they would get from cold-calling unsuspecting people.

Since Google Maps can be edited by anyone, the service relies on the trustworthiness of its users to update its listings with accurate information. Inevitably, people with malicious intent found a way to abuse the service. Google issued the following statement in response to these scams:

“Overall, allowing users to suggest edits provides comprehensive and up-to-date info, but we recognize there may be occasional inaccuracies or bad edits suggested by them. When this happens, we do our best to address the issue as quickly as possible.”

Any service that offers user-generated content has potential inaccuracies. Rather than relying on Google Maps for contact information, it’s a better idea call the number on the back of your bank card or to go directly to a bank’s website to find its phone number. New-school security awareness training enables employees to make smarter security decisions.

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