Scammers are changing the contact details for banks on Google Maps to defraud people

  • Scammers are using Google Maps to trick people into giving up their bank details.
  • The app lets users edit and update listings, so the fraudsters are changing banks’ phone numbers to their own.
  • Victims then call them up and give up their details without ever realise something’s gone wrong.

Scammers have found a new avenue for defrauding unsuspecting victims: Google Maps.

The Google-run online map service lets users submit changes and corrections to listings – so would-be fraudsters are changing the contact details listed for banks on the app. Then, when unsuspecting bank customers ring up what they think is their financial institution, the scammers extract their private banking details and use it to empty their accounts.

Police in Maharashtra, India, put out a warning about the scam after hearing of multiple cases in the last month, as earlier reported by The Hindu. But while their warning specifically applies to scammers in India, there’s nothing to stop criminals elsewhere in the world from trying to pull the scheme off.

It’s a cautionary warning that the information on Google Maps isn’t always as trustworthy as it might appear.

A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, but one previously told The Hindu: “Overall, allowing users to suggest edits provides comprehensive and up-to-date info, but we recognise 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.”

To stay safe, don’t trust any phone number purporting to be your bank online unless it’s on their website, or listed on the back of your debit or credit card.