3 Ways To Keep Your Guard Up With Fake And Manipulated Reviews From Online Business Scammers

3 Ways To Keep Your Guard Up With Fake And Manipulated Reviews From Online Business Scammers

fake reviews

3 Ways To Keep Your Guard Up With Fake And Manipulated Reviews From Online Business Scammers. Image: Screengrab from YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq_Ksga9uHY

Scammers are always prowling on social media for their next victim and everyone needs to know how to guard against fake and manipulated reviews.

There’s a whole industry devoted to fake reviews. They’re so common that they likely outnumber genuine reviews by a significant amount, according to Scambusters.org, an online publication covering internet fraud. Firms sell phony comments in bulk for a few dollars a pop and they have at their disposal hundreds of thousands of people willing to write them.

Online comments are a natural extension of “word-of-mouth” marketing, where people share the experiences they had with a product or service.

Studies show that 93 percent of customers read an online review before making a decision to purchase an item, and 91 percent of consumers say they trust these comments as much as personal recommendations.

It would be a mistake to take all online reviews as the gospel truth or use them as the only criteria for evaluating the quality of a product or retailer. On the other hand, one cannot completely ignore online reviews as they give an indication of what to expect from goods or services being offered.

The number of misleading reviews soared in 2020, according to Saoud Khalifah, CEO of Fakesport, a free browser designed to weed out unreliable product ratings.

Khalifah blames the increase in fake reviews on the covid-19 pandemic, which sent buying via e-commerce into the stratosphere and steepened competition for online vendors.

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On some established e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, you can report a fake review when you deem it suspicious by clicking the “report” button. The report button takes the reporting client through a referral process.

By understanding how the fraudsters operate and knowing the key warning signs, you can avoid getting duped by scam reviews.

Here are 3 ways to keep your guard up against fake and manipulated reviews from online business scammers:

1. Use free review analysis tools

Use tools such as Fakesport and ReviewMeta by plugging the URL of the product you are looking at into a toolbar on the companies’ respective websites. Both platforms use algorithms to detect suspicious patterns in the review write-ups as well as the history of the reviewers.

Things like repetitive phrasing and spikes in the number of reviews being written in a very short period of time are considered red flags.

Fakesport assigns each product a letter grade from A to F that responds with review authenticity, with an “A” grade meaning that a product has a higher percentage of reliable reviews than one with an “F” grade.

They have also launched new beta features that highlight review insights for shoppers, including the “most/least positive review.”

2. Literally read the reviews

Sort the reviews by date, with the newest ones first because sometimes product quality changes over time. Scrutinizing new reviews will help you to know if things have changed, according to Tommy Noonan, founder of Reviewmeta.com.

Khalifah and Noonan point out that simply reading reviews is a big part of avoiding being defrauded.

“Don’t just rely on the average rating and review count. Even something with 4.8 stars and 10,000 reviews can be heavily manipulated, hijacked or one-tapped-rated without writng an accompanying review,” said Noonan.

3. Analyze the product outside of Amazon

Investigate the reviewers using the actual product in places like YouTube or in other video reviews, according to Khalifah. CNN recommends that even YouTubers do extensive research and hands-on testing before recommending products to viewers.

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