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Shopping Online? Beware Some Customer Reviews Could Be Fake.

Shopping Online? Beware Some Customer Reviews Could Be Fake. - The Beacon

02-2013

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By: Amanda

Shopping Online? Beware Some Customer Reviews Could Be Fake.

Most consumers are shopping online, not only during the holiday season but year round.  And most consumers, especially when purchasing big ticket items, often read consumer reviews.  Whether you are seeking advice or opinions on items ranging from a new pair of shoes to travel tips to home repair services, we all want to believe that the advice, opinion or review we are receiving online is genuine; however, through news stories and studies, we are becoming increasingly aware that we can’t always believe what we read in online reviews.  

So how can you spot a fake review? The Federal Trade Commission and your BBB have the following tips:

-Read the reviewers name. A name that includes either two or three numbers at the end could be a sign that it is computer-generated. In addition, some fake reviews can be spotted if the reviewer’s name resembles a business or product name.

-Do an internet search. Search for the reviewer’s name.  If multiple listings show up and they are using the same language to describe similar products or services, the reviewer could be receiving something in return for a positive review.

-It’s all in the language.  Reviews featuring glowing subject lines or verbiage such as “This product changed my life” could be a giveaway that the review is a fake.  Also repeated usage of the products name, make and model is also a sign that the review could be fake.  Also be on the lookout for language that repeats or is very similar to the marketing message being dispersed by the company.

-Take a second look. You may want to read reviews that are overly positive or overly negative again.  While people do tend to have strong feelings one way or the other regarding a product or service, overly critical reviews may be posted by a competitor and overly positive reviews could have been posted by the business itself.

-Seek out expert opinion.  There are people out there whose sole job is to form unbiased opinions about products.  Seek out these reviews and take them into account prior to making online purchases as well.

-Check out the business that owns the product or performs the service with your BBB

In the end, keep in mind that spotting fake reviews may be difficult; however, the more you read about the product and company, the better you will be at judging whether you are reading comment from consumers just like you or marketing disguised as consumer experience.

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Amanda

Amanda is the Director of Investigations & Information Services and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.