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How to spot fake reviews online

Phony positive reviews are becoming rampant online, even though new research shows that five-star reviews lack credibility with consumers.

Amazon recently filed a lawsuit against more than 1,000 individuals who allegedly were selling fake product reviews.

So how do you spot a fake?

An overabundance of five-star reviews can be a red flag, said Matt Parsons of Chicago-based PowerReviews, which has fraud detection technology that can help identify fake reviews. The firm “badges” reviews on clients’ e-commerce sites, signifying that they are from verified buyers.

Overly enthusiastic or extremely negative reviews are also a red flag, he noted.

“Be aware of the extremes,” he advised.

Also look for the repeated use of personal pronouns like I, he says. “The review should be more about the product, than the person writing it,” said Parsons.

In addition, look at the reviewers themselves, suggested Kevin Lee, executive chairman of Didit, a Mineola digital marketing firm: “I trust reviews more when it links to a profile of the individual. Not only does the review itself have to pass the smell test, but I try to look if the reviewer seems authentic.”

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