It’s not just fictitious towns you have to look out for on Google Maps: Microsoft engineer and former Marine Bryan Seely demonstrated to ValleyWag how he was able to exploit the open nature of the product to intercept phone calls to both the FBI and Secret Service.
The technique Seely used was incredibly simple …
Seely simply added fake entries on Google Maps – something anyone can do – listing his own phone number instead of the correct numbers. He then answered these calls and immediately connected them to the correct number, so callers got to speak to the FBI and Secret Service, leaving Seely free to listen in and record the calls. Neither the caller nor the government agencies would have any way of knowing the interception was taking place.
Seely did it to make a point: that there are risks to the kind of crowdsourced information Google Maps and other sites allow.
Seely reported the problem to Google, who he said had not responded. It was only when he walked into the Secret Service office in Seattle to report what he’d done that the matter was taken seriously, he said.
The Secret Service says that it always encourages people to go to its own website to obtain accurate contact information.