Wednesday, February 14, 2018
USPS address software gets manipulated by scam artists for fake business listings
WJLA-7 TV in Washington was gong to air a story tonight on fake business scams, using real USPS land addresses, which would often be other businesses, even residences.
The airing was delayed by coverage of the Florida school shooting today.
However this early 2017 story in the UK Daily Mail seems to explain how the scam works. Much of it has to do with attempts to manipulate Google search results with its map app. Google says it now has procedures in place to counter the scam. It's also possible for the scam to create false results on other sites like Yelp.
Unlicensed contractors would use the scam to get higher prices from consumers.
I’ve worked with the Pitney-Bowes (formerly Group 1) Software Move-Forward (when I worked for ING-Reliastar – I did an NCOA implementation in 1998). So I am aware of how clientization and address verification can work.
This might be an issue for local governments when they issue business licenses, especially for home-based businesses, as more governments move more of their public records online. So there could be more to this story. Let’s hope WJLA airs it soon or gives its own web address for it today.