How to beware of fake Amazon reviews

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) — If you’re like most people, you check out customer reviews of the products you buy online.

According to a recent survey by brightlocal, 77% of online shoppers say they always or regularly read reviews before making a buying decision.

Brands know that reviews are extremely valuable. A few years ago, Amazon shoppers could trust reviews labeled as “verified purchase,” but companies and scammers have found a way to get that label on every review they leave.

Even bought and sold reviews can easily earn the ‘verified purchase’ label. Here are some ways to do it:

Some brands offer products in exchange for a positive review. They find someone who agrees to leave a positive review and who will order the item from their Amazon account.

Once the review is written, the company reimburses the customer for the cost of the product.

Facebook recently banned groups promoting this method of filling the comments section with fake or dishonest reviews, but brands are looking for shoppers who take up their offer. Many brands even recruit friends of friends to do this.

Some brokers sell fake reviews to businesses who, for $20, can get a “verified purchase” label and customer photos posted on the product’s Amazon listing.

Sellers can also send a request to people who purchase the item to leave a review from their seller’s Amazon account.

Sellers have also been known to include an offer of money or Amazon gift cards in the packaging of a product, so that the buyer has the opportunity to earn extra money or even charge the item by seller.

Using these tactics makes it nearly impossible for Amazon or regular shoppers to spot and report fake reviews. If you’re going to make purchase decisions based on reviews, you should try these tactics:

  • Pay attention to three and four star reviews because you are more likely to get the pros and cons of the products.
  • Look for the “Early Reviewer Rewards” label in the comments section. For a while, Amazon offered some customers gift cards in exchange for writing honest product reviews. Amazon is no longer accepting registrations for the program, but you will still see some comments or reviews from people who participated in the program.
  • Pay attention to the reviews of “Vine Voices”. This is a program operated by Amazon. Some customers are offered free products in exchange for honest reviews. While this is considered a solid way to see honest reviews from Amazon shoppers, some may feel compelled to write a good review since the products are free.
  • Disregard 5 star reviews with a short comment such as “great product” or “love it”.
  • Read the fairly long comments.
  • Disregard reviews written with poor spelling or grammar.
  • Check the revision dates. You’ll always want to filter review listings to see “Most Recent”.
  • Many fake reviews are posted within days of each other.

To its credit, Amazon has cracked down on fake reviews, deleting millions of reviews and kicking some brands off its platform.

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