Extortion Comes to Your Neighborhood Restaurant!

A new scam is hitting mom-and-pop restaurants. Local family owned restaurants are being extorted by foreign scammers who post bad reviews, then demand google gift cards from the owners or they will continue. Crime Stoppers Houston's Rania Mankarious explains: "Scammers out of India are giving restaurants negative Google reviews following it up with an email to the restaurant owner saying if they don't give the scammer a $75 Google Gift Card --- they are going to continue!" Mankarious says smaller restaurants rely heavily on online reviews. "They go first to Google or Yelp reviews to see what that restaurant is like. When those negative reviews come in one after the other the average person is saying, 'Wait a minute. I'm not going to spend my time and money there.' And they move on! Google says the scam is so wide spread they don't have the staff to police it all. Many ask their happy real customers to rebuke the bad reviews online and keep their service and food quality impeccable.


MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover payment options on a restaurant door

Scammers using Yelp to extort money from restaurantsPhoto: Getty Images

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