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How to Spot a Fake Review on Amazon

Amazon and other e-commerce websites are flooded with bogus reviews. These online tools will help you identify a fake review on the internet and keep you from spending cash on a terrible product.

By Jason Cohen

As wonderful as the internet can be, it also lies to us every day. Fake reviews—seemingly legitimate reviews created by sellers or someone paid by sellers—are becoming harder to spot. We now make more and more of our purchases online, so if you’re not careful, fake reviews can end up costing you serious money.

In a recent survey of 1,000 US shoppers who plan to buy tech on Amazon Prime Day, only 16 percent of respondents were very confident they could detect fake Amazon product reviews; 24 percent were confident they could do it. Most—33 percent—were somewhat confident they could suss out bogus write-ups; the rest were not confident or not at all confident they could pick out the fakes.

Why is this important? In that same survey, 78 percent of people said Amazon product reviews play a big role in their purchase decisions.

As you read reviews, be on the lookout for overly positive or overly negative reviews that don’t offer enough detail. Be wary of very brief five-star and one-star reviews, particularly if they’re all posted on the same day. Amazon added a Verified Purchase label that accompanies legitimate reviews to combat fake reviews. This tells you that Amazon confirmed the reviewer actually purchased the item they are reviewing.

Here are some other tools that can help you identify fake posts.

Fakespot

Fakespot rates how reliable product pages are on Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Sephora, and Walmart. Fakespot’s algorithm looks at reviews and reviewers, analyzing language, previous reviews, and purchase history to determine trustworthiness.

Just copy the URL of the page in question and paste it onto the Fakespot website, and it will investigate the link. Once it’s done, Fakespot spits out a grade that should tell you whether the page has reliable information.

It also filters out reviews considered fake in order to create a more reliable product rating. This grade won’t tell you if the product in question is actually good or bad, but it will allow you to make a more informed decision.

A Chrome extension allows online shoppers to analyze a webpage with a click. Fakespot is also available as an app for iOS and Android, where pages can be shared through a web browser directly to the app for analysis.

ReviewMeta

ReviewMeta works pretty much the same way as FakeSpot, but it simplifies the grading process as an Amazon-only analyzer. As with Fakespot, you copy and paste the URL in question, but ReviewMeta doesn’t hand out a grade for the webpage. Instead, it eliminates the reviews it deems unreliable and replaces Amazon’s aggregate rating with one from ReviewMeta.

This tool offers the unique ability to the tweak its algorithm. After the website analyzes a page, you can go into the grading mechanics and adjust how categories are weighted. The site also provides detailed breakdowns — complete with graphs — for the factors contributing to the adjusted rating.

Add the browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge to quickly analyze a webpage and receive a Warn/Pass/Fail grading depending on the results. Analyze pages from your phone with the iOS and Android apps.

The Review Index

The Review Index is an online tool focused on aggregating tech product ratings on Amazon and Steam, but it can also determine whether a product’s score has been boosted by fake reviews. Chrome and Firefox extensions make the process easier.

Paste the URL into the site, and The Review Index breaks the product out into different categories based on the words it parsed from reviews. At the same time, The Review Index runs a spam test to ensure that the reviews are authentic, providing a Pass/Fail grade at the end.

How to Report a Fake Amazon Review

If you happen across a review you believe is fake, you can report it to Amazon, and mark it for investigation and possible removal. Just click the Report abuse under the review.

Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com.

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