Are You Being Scammed by Fake Product Reviews?

Are you purchasing online products by their high review rate? You could be getting lured in by fake reviews.

Many of the fake reviews come from Chinese companies. An article from the Motley Fool staff on June 15, 2021, said “Chinese merchants represent 75% of Amazon’s new sellers this year, up from 47% last year.” SafetyDetectives reported on a data breach that uncovered the fake Amazon reviews. “The server contained a treasure trove of direct messages between Amazon vendors and customers willing to provide fake reviews in exchange for free products.”  

You may not even know you are being lured into a fake review. When you purchased a product did you receive an email or a card with the product, saying you would receive a gift card or free product if you left a good review? 

One of these violators was wireless headset-seller Mpow. Amazon banned it for fake reviews. Amazon was not banning all the Chinese merchants involved in fake reviews. It was letting a lot of sellers get away with their deceptions. According to Motley Fool Staff “China’s portion of Amazon’s sales are between 30% and 40%, or $10 billion at the high end. So, if you do the math, Amazon is allowing far more Chinese retailers to conduct business than it’s banning.” The FTC stepped in to warn Amazon about being more proactive on banning companies that are known for their fake reviews.

Companies will also pay people to submit one-star reviews to place on competitors’ products. It all comes down to dollars. Higher customer rating on a product equals better sales. 

Tips for telling the difference

Here are a few items that may help you spot fake reviews:

  1. Look over the reviews that have two, three, or four stars. Most fake reviews are five-star or one-star. More detail in the review is better.
  2. Do not just rely on one vendor for your reviews. Research a product from multiple vendors.
  3. There are a couple of services that will help you avoid shady sellers, fake reviews, and scams. They are ReviewMeta and Fakespot.

ReviewMeta —

You can paste a link of the product and get a score. For example, we took the Amazon link of the Jabra Speaker 710 and pasted the URL into ReviewMeta website.

This is just the top part of the report created by ReviewMeta. When you arrow down you see more details about the seller and reviews. Deleted reviews, unverified purchases, suspicious reviewers, and more will show up on this report.

Fakespot —

This has a plug-in for Chrome, Brave, Firefox, iOS and Android which monitors Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Google and Sephora for fake reviews.

Using the plug-in for your web browser, you can review items for sale on Amazon and other sites. Fakespot will note on the webpage the rating for this seller and reviews for the product. The rating is from A to F.

Using the same example on Fakespot, we pasted the URL and clicked “Analyze reviews.” Fakespot gives a full report on the seller and reviews.

Using these items may help you make an informed decision on whom you are purchasing from and if the reviews are legit.


David H. Coull
Senior Systems Administrator