Does your neighbourhood have strange joke listings on Google Maps? Are you living next to a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Fake Google Maps locations are surprisingly common, and these fictional locations and pop-cultural references can even come with highly detailed (false) information, such as descriptions, photos, reviews and contact info.
While Albus Dumbledore might not actually work across the street from you — sorry — you can be a neighbourhood grump and ask Google to remove all this fun, especially if it’s actually a listing that’s trying to spam you instead of spark joy.
Should you worry about fake locations on Google Maps?
The crowdsourced nature of Google Maps and its lax submission requirements make it possible for any user to add a location (real or fake) to the map with minimal effort. While you should always be concerned that what you’re clicking on, visiting, or calling is real, it all depends on the specific location you’re looking at.
Fake business listings can create serious complications for real businesses and users looking for specific services, no question there. Most dubious locations are just benign goofs and probably not anything to worry about — humans have taken every opportunity make low-brow humour or simply let others know “I was here” as far back as the archaeological record can show.
While we can appreciate good-natured jokes, we also recognise that fake Google Map locations can be annoying. Every once in a while, they’re potentially malicious, and you should report these whenever possible.
How to report fake Maps listings to Google
Google has been making small efforts to clean up its Maps service, but users can take it upon themselves to police the service, too. We’ve covered how to alert Google to fake businesses and illegal listings in the past, but here’s how to report less malicious — but nevertheless still fake — Maps locations to Google.
Open the location’s Google Maps profile on PC or in the mobile app.
Click or tap “Suggest an edit.”
Select the option to “Remove this place.”
Fill out the form and click “Submit.”
Google will review your suggestion and take action, if necessary. While you might wreck someone’s idea of a joke, at least you’ll be doing your part to keep Google Maps a useful, wizard-free service.