Scammers flood restaurants with bad reviews, demand cash
A string of one-star Google reviews began to pepper Little Haiti restaurant Boia De’s profile last week, before an ominous email pinged owner Luciana Giangrandi’s phone.
“Negative feedback about your establishment has been left by us. And will appear in the future, one review a day,” it read in part. “We sincerely apologize for our actions, and would not want to harm your business, but we have no other choice.”
Send us a $75 gift card, it demanded, “and we will immediately stop.” Do nothing, and the negative reviews would continue.
Restaurants around the country are being extorted for money by online trolls who leave blocks of one-star Google reviews, mainly without any comments, and request payment through gift cards to remove them. The focus seems to be on high profile restaurants, including most of the 11 Miami-area restaurants that were recently awarded their first stars in the international Michelin dining guide.
Go to Herald.com for the full report.