(WWBT) - The last time you bought something new on Amazon, odds are, you checked customer reviews to make sure they were happy with it.
What if those buyers never actually used that item, or got paid to use it?
Research shows phony reviews and paid reviews are still a problem on Amazon. The Washington Post analyzed customer reviews for popular products, like Bluetooth headphones and speakers, and found many of them appear to violate Amazon's ban on paid reviews.
Many of those reviews had identical language and descriptions, as if that wording had been cut and pasted.
The Post says many of those phony reviews get their start on Facebook, where sellers look for shoppers in groups like Amazon Review Club, to give positive reviews in exchange for money or gifts.
Amazon says it purges shoppers who break the rules, and Facebook has started deleting groups that match sellers and potential reviewers.
In the meantime, here are some signs you're reading a phony review:
- Every single review of that product is five-star and glowing
- Rapid-fire reviews, all made within a matter of hours of each other
- Language that sounds like it was lifted right from a sales brochure
Make sure to look for that "verified purchase" label that Amazon adds, too.
These websites will help you filter out the phony reviews, using different databases and algorithms. Copy the URL of the Amazon product and paste it in the search bar - the website will then check the reviews for phonies.
Copyright 2018 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.