Google is working to fix false contact information for some major airlines on Google Maps after a Twitter user found a phone number actually connected callers to scammers.
Phone numbers appeared to be altered on Google Maps listings for multiple airlines’ locations at John F Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York. Impacted airlines included Delta, American, Southwest and Qantas, the user claimed in a widely viewed post.
The Twitter user detailed his experience trying to contact Delta after a canceled flight left him googling for a help line to rebook. After calling the listed number, he got a call back from what seemed to be a Delta customer service agent – but from a line with a French country code.
“By providing him with my confirmation number and name, he was able to look up my trip information on Delta. He found [an] alternative flight from Newark, leaving later in the evening. But he needed me to confirm,” Shmuli Evers posted on Sunday.
Sensing something was off, Evers ended the conversation. “He tried to text me after that, and he tried his best for so long to help me get on a flight… He wanted me to pay him 5 times the price of the original ticket cost.”
Scammers looking to trick unsuspecting customers are able to edit phone numbers of major companies’ local business listings on Google results, an issue that the tech giant says it is working to combat.
“We do not tolerate this misleading activity, and are constantly monitoring and evolving our platforms to combat fraud and create a safe environment for users and businesses,” a Google spokesperson told CNN.
“Our teams have already begun reverting the inaccuracies, suspending the malicious accounts involved, and applying additional protections to prevent further abuse.”
Using a combination of human moderators and technology, Google constantly monitors contributed content to spot and remove fraudulent information, enforcing policies that state all contributions must be based on ” real experiences and information.”
Accounts found to be uploading false or misleading data can be suspended or even face litigation, according to the company, such as a lawsuit filed in June against a bad actor posting fake reviews on small businesses.
Impacted businesses like airlines are able to flag concerns to both Google and law enforcement over suspected scammers.
“Whenever we become aware of an alleged scam targeting our customers, including in this situation, we immediately conduct an investigation. Using the facts gained from an investigation, when able, we can then address each unique situation as appropriate with the necessary legal means at our disposal,” a Delta spokesperson told CNN.
Delta also advises customers to contact the airline only through known channels like numbers listed on their website or their online messaging option.