10 red flags to spot fake Amazon reviews ahead of Black Friday

There are millions of fake reviews on Amazon (Image: Getty Images)

With Black Friday just around the corner, an expert has revealed how to spot fake reviews on Amazon.

It comes as thousands of people are expected to flock to the online marketplace on November 25 to get their hands on discounted tech and get a jump on their Christmas shopping.

However, there are millions of bogus reviews, with a whopping 61 per cent of all reviews on the site classified as fake.

To ensure you do not get scammed, these 10 tips will help you spot the fakes.

Jignesh Vaducha, Managing Director, Bespoke Software Development Company, said: “One of the worst things that can happen to a shopper is to spend their hard-earned cash to receive something they weren’t expecting.

“Scams like this happen all the time – the main way to avoid this is by looking at reviews, but sometimes stars aren’t enough. Fake reviews are ever prevalent on Amazon currently and this is how you can beat them to get the products you deserve.”

An Amazon spokesperson said: “We want Amazon customers to shop with confidence knowing that the reviews they see are authentic and trustworthy.

“Our policies prohibit reviews abuse including incentivised reviews. We suspend, ban, and take legal action against those who violate these policies and remove inauthentic reviews.

“We aim to prevent fake reviews from ever appearing in our store and have stopped millions of suspected fake reviews before they’re seen by customers.

“In 2020, we blocked or removed over 200 million suspected fake reviews, of which more than 99 per cent was proactively.

“Amazon receives millions of reviews every week, each of which is analysed before publication using sophisticated industry-leading technology.

“We also have a team of skilled investigators who continue to monitor all existing reviews for signs of abuse and quickly act if we find an issue.”

It is all in the details

Reviews with only a few words, for example, “great”, “superb”, “couldn’t ask for more”, etc, are usually a clear sign they are fake.

They often follow a similar structure and lack individuality.

Another thing to watch out for is grammar and spelling mistakes.

A few mistakes are fine, but excessive errors over multiple reviews could be a tell-tale sign it is fake.

Check reviews that are not one or five-star

Those who leave fake reviews will often either leave one star or five stars.

If you notice a high volume of five-star reviews, it is unlikely the product is perfect, so they may have been falsified.

However, you may see a product littered with negative reviews, and this can indicate a competitor’s presence.

Check that it is a verified purchase

Look out for a “verified purchase” label; this indicates if the reviewer has actually bought the item.

Although it is not the all-important element in legitimising a review, there is a good chance these reviews are real.

Some sellers will reimburse and pay individuals or third-party organisations to purchase a product and leave a false review.

Take a look at the reviewer’s profile

Clicking on the profile of a suspicious reviewer can easily reveal their motivations.

You may notice they only opened their account in the past week, but they have reviewed a large quantity of products.

It is unlikely an individual would purchase and review over 50 products in such a short time, meaning you can question their authenticity as a genuine buyer. 

You can also look at a reviewer’s behaviour: have they reviewed random items from across different categories that reflect dissimilar interests? Do they often leave reviews that do not go into the item’s specifics? These traits can indicate that the buyer’s reviews are not authentic. 

Read three-star reviews for grounded product opinions

With so many reviews out there, scrolling through them all can get confusing.

To find fair reviews, look out for three-star reviews.

People who leave three stars often explain the good and the bad, suggesting that the reviews are not fake.

Always try to find objective reviews to gauge a realistic understanding of the product. 

Does the review mention a competing product? 

It is common for reviews to be manipulated by competitors, either with negative reviews or by mentioning a competitor’s product.

Competitors often attempt to drive traffic and sales to their Amazon seller page by leaving a negative review on the page and indicating the competitor’s product is superior.

It is definitely suspicious if you see a review persuading you to look at another brand, so be wary of this.

Look at product reviews on other websites 

Before purchasing a product on Amazon, it could be worth checking its reviews on other websites.

It is best to do this on sites that you trust, and look at reviews from professional critics before you purchase on Amazon.

However, looking at product reviews on other sites should be used as a general guide since fake reviews can also infiltrate other sites.

Is the review too generic? 

If the review appears too generic and does not include any specifics about the product, this can also indicate a false review.

Fake reviewers are paid to leave large quantities of reviews and will streamline the process by leaving generic comments that will apply to all products.

For example, you may find a review that says “it was as described”, “it arrived in perfect condition.” 

This lack of context can indicate that the same reviews have been used for several items. 

Same review, same time, same scam

When there are multiple reviews on the same day, around the same time, it is a tell-tale sign that they may be fake.

Often, sellers will pay for good reviews on their products to boost their visibility on Amazon, or competitors may pay for negative reviews.

When there is a collection of similar reviews around the same time, it is likely a cause for concern. 

Use a tool to filter out scam reviews 

ReviewMeta and FakeSpot are just some of the tools that individuals can use to help identify false reviews and filter out potential scams.

FakeSpot uses artificial intelligence to alert you to fake reviews and scam sellers as you shop, whereas ReviewMeta filters manufactured reviews and gives an adjusted rating based on what legitimate buyers think.

Using such tools in combination with your own knowledge can help protect you from purchasing unsatisfactory goods based on falsified reviews.

How do you report a fake or suspicious Amazon review?

If you suspect a review may be fake, you can report it directly to Amazon using the following steps:

1. Click on “report abuse” below the amazon review.

2. Once directed to a new screen, click confirm and the suspicious review will now be reported.

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