Sochi gets slammed with 1-Star Google reviews by scammers. Here is how you can help

From Crain’s Chicago and Eater Chicago, Sochi has been slammed by Internet scammers over the past few weeks on Google. Google finally has reverted the ratings and at this time, you cannot leave a review.

That being said, you can still leave a positive review on Yelp! which would certainly help this great restaurant.

From Crain’s:

“Internet scammers are targeting numerous Chicago restaurants, leaving one-star reviews on their Google profiles, and then asking for money to make them go away.

Suspicious one-star reviews have popped up on the profiles of a number of the city’s acclaimed restaurants, both new and old, including Adalina, EL Ideas, Elske, Ever, Galit, Next Restaurant, Nomi Kitchen, North Pond, Oriole, Parachute, Porto, Sochi Saigonese Kitchen and Topolobampo. Many are recipients of Michelin stars or Bib Gourmand designations, highly prestigious accolades in the restaurant industry.

Sochi co-owner Chinh Pham noticed the problem 10 days ago, as first reported by Eater Chicago. She asked her staff if any customers had complained in person, but they hadn’t noticed anything substantial, Pham told the Tribune on Thursday. So she tried to forget about it.

“If someone doesn’t like the restaurant, then I can ignore it,” Pham said. “But the reviews just kept coming.”

Each day, a few more one-star reviews would show up, though none of the people who left them included a comment or explanation. Eventually, Pham checked OpenTable to see if any of the names matched with the reservations, but none did. “I started having suspicions that something was happening,” she said Thursday.

Then the restaurant got an email from someone asking for a $75 Google Play gift card to make the negative reviews stop.

Pham tried to contact Google, but hasn’t been able to get in touch with anyone at the company.

“I got a message saying that they will get back to me in two to three business days, but it’s been almost 10 days,” Pham said. “It makes me feel very scared. There is no one to help at all. There’s no customer service. But we have no choice, because these days a restaurant can’t survive without Google.”

A Google Maps spokesperson said Thursday evening the company was “investigating this situation and have already begun removing cases of policy-violating content.”

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