Christmas Shoppers Warned Against Fake Online Reviews – Here’s How To Protect Yourself Economic news

UK shoppers have been urged to search for fake reviews online over the Christmas period.

People across the country have purchased around 80 million items based on positive online reviews only to be disappointed when they arrive, National Trading Standards (NTS) said.

He added that consumer confidence in online reviews is fueling an increase in the number of criminals who use them to sell low-quality goods and services.

A total of 56% of online shoppers use online reviews as a deciding factor when making a purchase and 67% are more likely to buy a product or service if it has a five-star rating, according to an NTS survey .

However, NTS found that only one in five people checked the timing and spacing of online reviews, and only 18% looked at the activity history of reviewers, which can provide useful insight into their authenticity.

Here are six tips from National Trading Standards to avoid falling into the trap of fake online reviews:

  • Calendar & Spacing – Look for several similar reviews that have been uploaded within minutes or hours.
  • Check reviewer activity – if an account has been activated recently or has only reviewed a limited range of products / services, this may indicate suspicious activity.
  • Vague language – legitimate reviews will often be personal and specific to the individual’s experience. A fake is more likely to be vague, using generic words and phrases such as “amazing”, “great” and “buy this product”.
  • Check contact details – if a reviewer is happy to be contacted with questions and is responsive, that’s a good sign that they’re legit.
  • Use a browser plug-in – they use artificial intelligence to analyze reviews, identify suspicious activity, and suggest better alternatives. Examples are Fakespot and ReviewMeta.
  • Look beyond the star rating – while a 4.5 or 5 star rating can be a good indicator of quality, be sure to check out reviews as well.

Fake online reviews are estimated to potentially influence £ 23bn in UK consumer spending each year, according to government figures.

An investigation into fake reviews is already being conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which includes a formal investigation into Amazon and Google over concerns that they haven’t done enough to tackle fake reviews. articles published on their sites.

Last year, Facebook, Instagram and eBay took down groups and banned individuals from buying and selling fake reviews, following actions by the CMA.

“Fake reviews online hurt legitimate businesses and support those looking to make a quick buck selling shoddy products,” said NTS eCrime team national coordinator Mike Andrews.

“Many of those we interviewed said they felt cheated, duped and cheated after unwittingly falling in love with fakes, often realizing that reviews were suspicious only when it was too late.

“We urge those who shop for Christmas online to seek out fake reviews online and avoid being left behind by using our tips.”

Anyone who is concerned that they have been the victim of an online scam should report it to or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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