Chicago Vietnamese restaurant Sochi Saigonese, named on Michelin’s 2022 Bib Gourmand list, is the latest target of scammers threatening one-star reviews unless given a gift card.
According to an employee who posted to a private Facebook group for members of the Chicago hospitality industry, Sochi has been overwhelmed with a flood of one-star Google reviews over the past 10 days.
Last Wednesday morning, the employee wrote that owners Chinh Pham and Son Do received an email from an individual demanding a $75 Google Play gift card to put an end to the storm of negative ratings.
As reviewed by Eater, the email read, “We sincerely apologize for our actions, and would not want to harm your business but we have no other choice.”
They added, “The fact is that we live in India and see no other way to survive.”
Other restaurants that have been allegedly victimized by fraud include the Bien Trucha Group, with four restaurants to its name in the western suburbs. In June, scammers hacked into the group’s Facebook page, changed it to look like an investing service and charged cryptocurrency ads run on the social media platform totaling thousands of dollars to the restaurant.
Mexican restaurant Ocaso, located in Chicago’s Logan Square, also experienced chaos when its reservation system was forced to be shut down after being hacked.