5 Tips to Spot Fake Customer Reviews

Review fraud not only misleads shoppers but also hurts companies that play by the rules. Keep these tips in mind when trying to spot fake customer reviews.

Posted by Ann Snook in on April 26th, 2019

Almost 30 billion dollars’ worth of customer spending is influenced by online reviews every year. However, customer review fraud has made online product ratings less trustworthy. Fake reviews not only mislead shoppers but also hurt companies that play by the rules.

Whether you are a savvy online shopper or investigating a product for customer review fraud, knowing the qualities of fake reviews can save you money, time and stress. Keep the following things in mind when trying to spot fake customer reviews.

 

Investigating fake customer reviews can be a challenge. Learn how i-Sight case management software can make your fraud investigations faster and easier here.

 

Look For Rating Trends

 

Many sellers who engage in customer review fraud use freelance job sites and Facebook groups to find their reviewers. They put out a call online, offering payment or a free product in exchange for positive reviews and often hire multiple reviewers in a day. As a result, a large number of reviews for a product in a short period of time is a good indication of review fraud.

If a product has mixed reviews, note when they were posted. Did it have mostly negative reviews but suddenly had an influx of 5-star ratings? Considering that the product’s quality probably didn’t change overnight, it’s likely the seller is committing review fraud.

 

Note Suspicious Language and Formatting

 

Unbelievable claims and odd formatting can be signs of suspicious behavior in emails and letters. Seeing them in product reviews should also send up a red flag.

Fake customer reviews are often positive to the point of being over-the-top, reading more like an infomercial than a review. They may also have poor grammar and spelling or odd word choice. Beware of reviews with strange spacing, punctuation and formatting too.

 

Vet the Reviewers

 

When you suspect review fraud, investigating the reviewers is as important as looking at the comments they write. People who leave fake customer reviews rarely only do it once, so take a look at their past reviews for clues.

 

  • Have they written a large number of reviews?
  • Do they only give 5-star ratings?
  • Have they reviewed a product more than once?
  • Did they buy a lot of similar items and review them all positively?
  • Have they purchased a strange assortment of products in quick succession?

 

There are reasonable explanations for all of these actions. But if the reviewer’s history shows more than one of these patterns, think twice before trusting their feedback.

 

Read the Comments

 

When trying to spot fake customer reviews, you need to go beyond the star rating. Take a close look at the content of the written comments. Product reviews that are part of a review fraud scheme are often:

 

  • Very short or very long
  • Completely positive
  • Not specific and don’t give useful information about the product
  • Repetitive, using the same phrases as other reviews either of the product or that the reviewer has written before
  • Written by a reviewer who has reviewed the same product before

 

RELATED: What is Customer Review Fraud?

 

Use an Online Tool

 

Decoding fake customer reviews can be tough. Fraudsters keep finding new ways to mislead shoppers so that they will buy their products. A review fraud tool can help you to separate fact from fiction.

Sites like ReviewMeta and Fakespot have developed AI tools that help you determine the reliability of customer reviews. Type in the URL of a product or service you want to audit and the tool analyzes its reviews. Using criteria like number of deleted reviews, repetitiveness of reviews, and quality of reviewers, you can detect which products may have fraudulent reviews.

 


Ann Snook
Ann Snook

Marketing Writer

Ann is a marketing writer at i-Sight Software. She writes about issues related to investigations of fraud, employee misconduct, corporate security, Title IX, ethics & compliance and more.

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