Beware fake business reviews and ratings!

This morning I got what seemed to be a fake review from a competitor. It couldn't have been clumsier.

In general, when I get a message from Google to my business account saying that I've got a new review I'm like WooHoo! I've got a good strike so far both in Google Maps and on Valokuvaajat.fi with mostly 4-5 stars out of 30+ reviews. I'm not saying I don't have negative feedbacks or bad days at delivering my services. But as a small, independent photographer I get to know every single one of my clients. So I know when things didn't go as well as planned.

So this time I had one of those rare 3 star ratings with no actual review from someone called Jari Tolvanen

Fake business review from competitor photographer Jari Tolvanen

I scratched my head and wondered what did go wrong? I couldn't recognise the client, I searched through my emails, agreements etc. and nothing came up. So first I replied to him for references, I'd like to know more about it what happened.

Then I realised I could click on his profile and maybe find out something. It turns out he's listed as a Local Guide - Level 1 on Google Maps and that he has rated 4 restaurants and 6 photography business just in the last week. Actually, the rating to my business was done last night and is listed as "in the last week. So for all I know, he could as well have done all of that during last night.

Photographer Jari Tolvanen has rated other 6 photography businesses

So a quick look at Google and Facebook revealed that he is the first name of the list of photographers at Studio Elite, here in Helsinki. 

Never the less, I suspect this guy acted on his own. Specially since this was so clumsy. Even using a fake profile or asking someone else to post fake reviews could be undercover. As I mentioned, I get to know and serve personally every single of my clients. And in any case, internet knows everything and I'm a paying client to Google.

Jari Tolvanen, who gave my business a fake rating, is a competitor photographer.

Jari Tolvanen, who gave my business a fake rating, is a competitor photographer.

Finally I contacted Google so they can review it. 
If you are a business using Google and you are interested about how to flag inappropriate reviews, you must visit this link:
https://support.google.com/business/answer/4596773

I suggest you to contact first by chat or email their customer service to provide them with details before flagging the review or rating. That will give their employees more background to take a look on your case. According to Google it will take a few days for them to decide on the case and take action.