February 5, 2024

Don't Fall For Amazon Fake Reviews

Written by our expert


Avanthika Nityanand

M.Sc Human Genetics, B.Sc Plant Biology & Plant Biotechnology

Don't Fall For Amazon Fake Reviews
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Imagine relying on reviews for nearly every online purchase you make, which is the case for about 93% of customers. [ref]

These reviews are not just words; they're the guiding light in the vast sea of e-commerce, offering a beacon of truth and reliability. When diving into unfamiliar waters or choosing a new brand or product, reviews become your lifeline, helping you make informed and confident choices.

Now, imagine the turmoil when fake reviews shatter this trust. Each insincere rating or misleading comment isn't just a tiny fib; it's a breach of trust, leading you to potential regret and disappointment.

The real dangers of fake reviews are the emotional toll of being misled, the frustration of wasted money, and the betrayal of trust. They corrupt the foundation of consumer confidence, turning what should be an empowering shopping experience into a minefield of doubts and uncertainties.

Here are some good articles that address how bad the issue of fake reviews on platforms like Amazon:

How Amazon Fights Fake Reviews

Amazon continues to take action against fake review brokers

Amazon is undoubtedly playing a crucial role in tackling the issue of fake reviews, but as consumers, we, too, have a responsibility. We can enhance the effectiveness of these efforts by staying alert and identifying potential red flags in reviews.

When we encounter reviews that raise suspicion, reporting them to Amazon can help maintain the platform's integrity. Doing so contributes to a more trustworthy and reliable online shopping environment, ensuring that the reviews we read and rely on reflect genuine customer experiences.

Recognising Fake Positive Reviews

Recognising fake reviews on Amazon involves looking for specific patterns and characteristics:

Reviewer's History

To spot a fake review on Amazon, checking the reviewer’s profile can be a useful tactic. If you find a review particularly detailed and helpful, verifying its authenticity can be done by looking into the reviewer’s profile.

Simply click on the reviewer’s name to access their profile.

Example of a fake amazon user
Example of a fake amazon user, expanded.

Once on the profile page, look for signs that might indicate a fake review. Often, counterfeit reviewers might need a genuine profile picture, or they might use images from movies or other sources.

If the profile picture looks like it's of an actual person, there's a chance it could be borrowed from someone else’s social media. You can use Google Image search to see if the profile photo is used elsewhere on the internet. Finding the image in other places is a warning sign.

Also, fake reviewers generally receive fewer helpful votes because their reviews may not add much value. A useful rule of thumb is to be wary of reviewers whose helpful votes are much less than a third of their total number of reviews.

Pay attention to their review patterns too. Fake reviewers commonly give extreme ratings – mostly 5 stars or 1 star. Moreover, if they're writing reviews as a source of income, they might post reviews quite frequently, say around 10-12 times a week.

If you notice two or more of these indicators in a reviewer's profile, their reviews might need to be more reliable. It's best to take such reviews with a pinch of salt, report them to Amazon and not let them heavily influence your purchasing decision.

Start With The Oldest Reviews

To discern if a seller has potentially used fake reviews on Amazon, especially when their product was newly listed, you can scrutinize the oldest reviews.

Sellers may initially rely on inflated 5-star ratings to boost their product's visibility in search results and attract early customers.

Here's a streamlined approach to check older reviews:

Locate the Customer Reviews Section:

Go to the product page and find the section where all customer reviews are listed.

Screenshot 2024 02 03 At 3.40.19 Pm

Access All Reviews:

There's usually a link to view all reviews. Click this to see the full list.

Navigate to the Last Page:

Scroll to the bottom of the review list and select the last page to view the earliest reviews.

In the image below, you can see that the reviews all have the same dates, with very brief comments and no photos.

Screenshot 2024 02 03 At 3.43.07 Pm

When examining these older reviews, look for patterns that might indicate inauthentic feedback. Early on, sellers might prioritize high star ratings over detailed, positive reviews.

This can lead to a surge of brief, vague reviews with 5-star ratings.

If you notice many such reviews appearing in quick succession, it raises the likelihood that they might be fabricated.

These initial reviews are often simplistic and lack substance, possibly just a one-liner, yet accompanied by a full 5-star rating.


The presence of fake positive reviews at the outset doesn't automatically mean the product is low-quality. Sellers, especially new ones, often face the challenge of increasing their product's visibility and sales quickly in a competitive marketplace.

In some cases, they might resort to dubious tactics like fake reviews to boost their rankings. However, it's wise to approach such sellers with caution as a buyer.

While their product might still be of good quality, the use of misleading practices to gain an advantage can be a red flag about their overall business ethics and credibility.

Overly Positive Language

Sometimes, sellers can pay advertising companies to buy their products on Amazon and leave a 5-star review. This way, the reviews will have the "Verified Purchase" tag, making it look authentic.

Look out for excessively positive reviews without providing specific details about the product. Such reviews might lack authenticity.

Here is an example:

Example of a positive amazon customer review.

Prioritise 3-Star Reviews First

It's not implied that all 5-star or 1-star reviews on Amazon are fake, but these rating categories often harbor inauthentic reviews.

When funding fake reviews, sellers aim to maximize their investment. Consequently, they tend to instruct reviewers to leave very high (4-5 stars) or very low (1-2 stars) ratings to impact the product's overall rating significantly.

In contrast, 3-star reviews are less likely to be fake. A moderate rating like 3 stars doesn't substantially affect the product's overall rating, making it less appealing for those looking to manipulate ratings.

Reviews with 3-star ratings, accessible by clicking on the 3-star bar in the Customer Reviews section, often provide a balanced view of the product's advantages and disadvantages.

3-star Amazon reviews

They tend to be more reliable, as people giving these ratings usually detail the product's good and bad aspects. When reading these reviews, it's helpful to use common sense to discern if the issues mentioned are genuinely related to the product quality or result from personal preference and usage errors.

Here is an example:

Example of a balanced 3-star review on Amazon

This approach to analyzing reviews can offer a more accurate picture of the product's quality, as seen in an example screenshot where none of the 3-star reviews appear fake and provide valuable insights into the product's pros and cons.

Is The Verified Purchase Tag Reliable?

The "Verified Purchase" tag beneath a reviewer's name confirms that the reviewer actually bought the item from Amazon.

However, don't automatically equate this tag with the review's authenticity.

In many cases of fake reviews, the process involves the reviewer purchasing the item, leaving a review, and returning the item for a refund. This practice often accompanies additional compensation for the reviewer through separate payment methods like PayPal or letting them keep the item.

Consequently, relying solely on the Verified Purchase tag as a marker of authenticity is not effective in identifying fake reviews.

It's more beneficial to consider a range of other indicators, as previously discussed, rather than depending exclusively on the presence of a Verified Purchase tag.

Similarity in Review Text: Notice if multiple reviews share similar wording or phrases. This could indicate that the reviews are not genuine.

Timing of Reviews: A sudden surge of reviews within a short timeframe can be suspicious, suggesting a coordinated effort to artificially boost or lower the product's rating.

Generic Names and Photos: Profiles with generic names and no personal photos, or generic images, might indicate fake accounts.

Unusual Formatting: Pay attention to the formatting of the review. Overuse of emojis, all caps, or poor grammar can sometimes be a sign of inauthentic reviews.

Always cross-check reviews and look for patterns that seem unnatural or overly promotional.

Recognizing Fake Negative Reviews

These reviews, often strategically placed by competitors or disgruntled individuals, can unfairly tarnish the reputation of products and mislead potential buyers.

Recognizing these fake negative reviews is crucial for making informed purchasing decisions. It involves looking beyond the surface to understand the nuances of review patterns, language used, and the reviewer's history.

To spot fake negative reviews on Amazon potentially posted by rivals:

Excessively Negative Tone: Look for reviews that are overly critical without specific, credible details.

Lack of Detail: Fake negative reviews often lack specifics about the product and might be vague or general in their criticism.

Reviewer's History: Check if the reviewer has a pattern of only posting negative reviews, or if their account seems new with very few reviews.

Comparison with Competitor Products: Be wary of reviews that unfavorably compare the product to another specific brand, especially if it seems like an advertisement for the competitor.

Inconsistent Feedback: If most reviews are positive and a few are extremely negative without valid reasons, it's possible that the negative ones are not genuine.

Pattern in Language: Similar phrasing across multiple negative reviews could indicate a coordinated effort.

Remember, it's always good to read a variety of reviews, both positive and negative, to get a balanced view of the product.

Final Thoughts

Remember, real reviews often provide specific information about the product's performance, including both positives and negatives.

Watch out for overly enthusiastic or extremely negative reviews, especially if they lack detail.

Reviewers with a balanced history of diverse ratings across different products are more likely to be credible.

The 'Verified Purchase' tag, while helpful, isn't foolproof against fake reviews.

Finally, trust your instincts – if a review feels too generic or seems off in any way, it's worth taking with a grain of caution.

Awareness and vigilance can enhance your online shopping experience, ensuring you make well-informed decisions based on trustworthy information.

Happy shopping!

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