Consumer Alert: Five ways to spot fake product reviews online

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Checking out reviews can be really helpful before spending your hard earned money, but it’s the exact opposite if you don’t know if you can can trust what we’re reading.

Between the increase in online only retailers to social media influencers, it’s often hard to tell if those five star reviews are real.

According to experts, one of the first ways to spot a fake online review is to check the time stamp. If you notice a cluster of positive reviews posted on the same day, that’s a red flag that something might be up.

Fake reviews are sometimes grouped together so skip ahead.

Another step you can take to determine if a review is real or fake is to watch for identical phrasing in multiple reviews. In other words, if you see different reviews from different users but they all say the same thing that’s another indication the reviews may not be legit.

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A third way to spot those fake reviews is to let Fakespot do the work for you. Fakespot is a website that uses an algorithm to evaluate the quality of customers reviews.

It works with products sold at retailers like Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy. You simply plug the product URL into Fakespot’s analyzer and it shows the percentage of reviews that are likely to be genuine and even gives it a grade.

Fakespot says its research found 42 percent of Amazon’s reviews aren’t genuine.

Two other quick ways to spot fake reviews include looking for verified purchase badges on Amazon and checking for reviewer history at any website.

Click on the reviewer’s profile and check things like whether they always give a product five stars or use the same language in their reviews. That may be another sign the person had been paid or the review is fake.

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