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8 Ways to Spot a Fake Amazon Review

This amazing advice will make you an Amazon expert.

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What is a fake Amazon review?

When browsing an online market with limitless variety such as Amazon, it’s hard to decide which products we want to buy. Because of this, we often turn to a product’s “Reviews” section—it’s user-generated, frequently updated, and trustworthy…right? Unfortunately, not so much. Amazon’s “Reviews” feature should make choosing the best buy for your buck a bit easier, but with the rise of fake and paid reviews, these reviews can’t always be trusted. Fortunately, we’ve got your back. These are eight ways to spot Amazon fake reviews. And be aware of these other all-too-common online scams you should be aware of.

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To spot Amazon fake reviews, check the timestamps

It’s abnormal for authentic Amazon reviews to appear over the course of a day or two—in most situations, product reviews are posted over weeks, months, and even years. So, next time you’re reading product reviews, check the times and dates that they were posted. Tommy Noonan of ReviewMeta—a service that detects Amazon fake reviews—recommends that users check the dates that the reviews were published because “if everything was posted around the same day, it could be a sign that something fishy is going on.” When product reviews are posted within a short time frame, it’s a sign that they may not be from legitimate buyers, but instead Amazon fake reviews from an organized effort to boost the product rating.

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And investigate the user’s review history

If you’re looking to verify that a product review is from a real person, you may want to start by clicking on the reviewer’s profile and looking at their activity. Just like other kinds of spam profiles, a human eye will be able to detect these suspicious profiles better than a computer algorithm. “If that customer [has] only left five-star, positive reviews on many different products, then the reviews are most likely fake,” says Jonathan Goldman, President of Quantum Networks, a Top 200 Amazon Seller. These Amazon products have practically perfect reviews.

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Be wary of review length

Polly Kay, Head of Digital Marketing at Amazon seller English Blinds UK, cautions against review sections where “a large number of the product’s review comments are overly short and don’t provide any real information, with reviews such as ‘very good’ or ‘this is the best product.’” Kay points out that some products with genuine reviews will also have a fair amount of these short comments, but authentic reviews are more likely to be detailed. Real reviews should contain specific details about the product, dealing with its quality, functionality, and if the product was in good condition when it arrived.

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Inspect the spelling and grammar

Michael Lai, CEO of sitejabber, a business review company, suggests that Amazon buyers should check the spelling and grammar of online reviews. “Many Amazon fake reviews are outsourced to international content farms and are either written in poor English or not in a way a real consumer would express their opinion,” says Lai. Because of this, poor or careless spelling is an easy way to spot the fakes. Though Amazon is a trusted site, beware of these signs that a shopping site is fake when visiting other pages.

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See if the purchase is “Verified”

“One of the ways customers can verify that the reviews on Amazon are from trusted customers is to look at the reviews that are verified purchases,” says Goldman. “Customers can tell which reviews [are verified] because an orange badge would appear next to the review.” It is true that this “orange badge” is an indication that the good was purchased, but unfortunately, Amazon seller companies have learned how to play dirty. Sellers often reimburse buyers for purchasing their products and leaving a positive review. With this, even if a review is real, and from a user who has 100% bought the product, it’s still possible that the buyer was paid for their services.

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Go early bird–watching

Another orange badge to look for is an “early reviewer rewards” badge, which means that the reviewers receive small monetary rewards (between $1 and $3) for leaving a review. Early reviews are authentic reviews, but they may be biased because they are incentivized. Want to become an early reviewer or product tester yourself? Here’s how to get free items on Amazon.

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Use ReviewMeta

With all of these tricks to be aware of, it’s lucky that there’s a service that automates fake review–spotting. ReviewMeta is a service that analyzes review data and gives a user a report on whether the reviews are real or fake. Noonan of ReviewMeta recommends using the site if the reviews under a product seem suspicious, or are “regurgitating marketing language.” ReviewMeta will scan the reviews section to give you an adjusted rating after disregarding the star ratings from suspicious reviews.

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Look for reviews with personality

If a rating has no personality or emotion to it, it could be one of the site’s all-too-common Amazon fake reviews. Reviewers are people, too, so expect them to be frustrated, excited, or even vengeful in their reviews. Reviews with humor or real-life examples of use are certainly real, and could not be generated with a computer. Products with a range of ratings rather than just five-star reviews are more trustworthy.

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What to do if you get duped

If you’ve fallen victim to Amazon fake reviews and receive a bad product, the return process is simple. Noonan tells RD.com that simply clicking on “Orders” then “Return or Replace” will allow you to return most items. “I usually select that the item was defective or the description was inaccurate,” he says. From there, you can print off a free mailing label and send it from any UPS, USPS, or other designated drop-off location. You probably know about the fast shipping and Prime Video access, but make sure you’re aware of these Amazon Prime benefits you might not know about.

Dani Walpole
Dani Walpole is an Editorial Intern at Reader's Digest. She is a senior at the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she is completing her degrees in Digital Media Production and English: Creative Writing. At SUNY, she works for WFNP 88.7 and writes for The New Paltz Oracle and The Teller Magazine. She is passionate about travel, rock music, and being employed after graduation.