How To Report Suspicious Online Reviews

Online reviews play a huge role in why people use a company’s services, or buy a company’s products, especially if the goods or service costs a lot. Research found that 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. Only 48% of consumers said they would consider using a business with fewer than 4 stars. 

It makes sense. With high inflation, especially when it comes to service that involves gas (and in a way, everything involves gas because products need to get from one place to another), no one is going to plop down thousands of dollars on a company that has bad online reviews. 

Monitor your reviews carefully to make sure that negative reviews are legitimate. It’s OK to have some negative reviews. After all, you can’t please everyone and some people are just nutty. But if a review strikes you as fake or unfair, you can flag it and have it reviewed. Here’s how to do so for some of the most popular review sites. 

report suspicious online picture


  1. Sign in to Your Google Account: Make sure you are signed in to your Google account associated with your business. If you don’t have one, you can create one.
  2. Locate the Suspicious Review: Go to the Google Maps page or Google Search results where the business is listed and find the suspicious review. .
  3. Flag the Review: Click on the three vertical dots (more options) located next to the review.
  4. From the dropdown menu that appears, select “Flag as inappropriate.”
  5. Provide Details: In the dialog box that pops up, you’ll have the opportunity to provide more details about why you believe the review is suspicious or violates Google’s policies. Below we explain what Google considers to be a  violation of their policies. Be as specific and accurate as possible in your explanation.
  6. Submit the Report: Click the “Submit” or “Flag” button to submit your report.

Google will then review your report and remove the review if it is found to be in violation of their policies. Keep in mind that it may take weeks for Google to review and act on the reported review.

Google will not typically get involved in disputes over the accuracy of reviews unless there is a clear violation of their policies. So there’s no need to present a lot of documents, images and videos. Keep calm and stick to the facts. 

If you don’t like the response you get at first, you can consider reporting the issue to Google My Business support for further assistance.



Business owners can report suspicious reviews in two ways:

  1. Click on the Report abuse below the review you find abusive. This is located below the review. 
  2. You can also respond to reviews to explain, publicly, why you think the review is not accurate. Stay calm when doing so. 
  3. If nothing happens, email to


  1. Business owners can log in to your Facebook business page.
  2. Go to the Reviews tab and find the review you want to report.
  3. Click on the three dots in the top left corner of the review.
  4. Select Report Post from the menu and follow the instructions.


  1. Business owners should log in to the Business Management Center at
  2. Under the Reviews tab, click Report a Review.
  3. Fill out the form and submit reasons why the review should be removed.


  1. Businesses can  log in to
  2. Go to Reviews.
  3. Select Service Reviews.
  4. In the posted review, click on the flag icon.
  5. Select a reason from the list.
  6. Read the guidelines and click Continue.
  7. Highlight the review and click Continue.
  8. The following prompts ask you why the review is suspicious, and gives you a timeline. 


  1. Go to the Reviews page on your business account at
  2. In the posted review, click on the three dots in the right-hand corner.
  3. Select Report Review.
  4. Select the reason for reporting the review from the drop-down list.
  5. Click Submit.


What Makes a Review Suspicious? report suspicious review picture

Spam and Fake Reviews

These platforms are  trying to stop people who leave fake reviews. People leave fake reviews for many reasons, including because they’re competitors of yours and they’re trying to drive business from you to them. Sometimes people leave fake reviews because they have a personal beef with you or an employee about a personal matter. And sometimes people leave fake reviews simply because they can and they like to disrupt things. 

Fake reviews often include strange names. Google, unlike these other businesses, requires users to use their real names to leave reviews. So if a name simply doesn’t seem like something a real person would have, flag it. If your business is small enough, you may even have a customer database. 

Spam fake reviews include generic language that don’t detail dates, times, and details like products or specific people. You can often see other reviews a user has submitted. If they posted multiple reviews in a short period of time, and if several of them are identical complaints against a business like yours, it’s probably fake and it’s probably spam. 

Multiple Negative Reviews From the Same Person

There’s no limit on the number of accounts one person can open on these platforms. If they have multiple emails, they can create multiple accounts. So if you have one really irate customer, they could theoretically open several accounts and leave negative reviews about your business from each. They can also ask friends, family and coworkers to use their accounts. Regardless of whether it’s one person with several accounts, or one person with a lot of friends and family, it’s against most guidelines to use multiple accounts to leave multiple negative reviews about one, single experience with a business. So if multiple people are posting about the same issue, on the same day, flag them for removal. 

Inappropriate Content, Profanity, Racism, or Other Hate Speech

Any use of inappropriate or swear words and derogatory racial terms in a review is grounds for removal. Hands down. So if the review contains any swear words, flag it. This also includes explicit content, offensive content, hate speech, harassment, and bullying. Threats fall into this category too. This can be a very powerful tool for you to have a review removed. Often, when someone is angry, they’ll swear and use foul language. Seize the opportunity and flag the review. 

Fake Reviews from Competitors

Sometimes businesses take competition to an extreme. They try  to hurt their competitors by  leaving negative Google reviews in an attempt to destroy a store’s online reputation. If multiple businesses in the same industry and location receive bad reviews from one person in a relatively short time period, it could be a sign the person behind the reviews is a friend or employee of a competitor. Flag it, and provide the links to the other bad reviews. The companies will investigate. 

The Person Accidentally Left You a Bad Review When they Meant to Give One to a Company With a Similar Name

In the heat of the moment, some angry people may search for a business, find yours and leave you a negative review when they really intended to leave it for a business with the same name in another place, or one of your competitors. This is easy to spot because they write about products or employees that you don’t have. In the case of franchises, it’s very possible that they meant to leave a review for one of your fellow franchise owners instead of you.  You can either message the reviewer and ask them to remove their message from your reviews. But this will require them to have a calm state of mind. It may be easier to just  flag the review.

Leaving Reviews at a Store With Multiple Locations That They Didn’t Visit

If you have a business with multiple locations, a bad experience at one place could cause a customer to go on a revenge writing spree about every storefront in your network in an attempt to harm your entire entity. 

Most review guidelines state that a user can only leave a review with a single business location that the person actually visited or bought products from in a single transaction. It’s pretty unlikely that a customer visited more than one location on the same day and had the same problem at each location. It’s possible, of course, but unlikely. Another clue is the location of the user versus the area of the business. For example, if the user is in California, but they wrote a review about a store in Ohio and Florida in the same few days, it’s unlikely each incident happened. Flag that review. Don’t contact the customer asking them to take the reviews down. They’re probably too angry. 

report suspicious activity picture

One of our many services at SEO Design Chicago is monitoring your reviews on multiple platforms. We can restore your reputation and maintain your reputation. Reach out to us for help.

Contact Us Today!

Call Now