A savvy shopper’s guide to spotting fake Amazon reviews

Look for patterns and suspicious language

If you see the same language repeated over and over again in a number of reviews, that could indicate of foul play. Both Fakespot and ReviewMeta take this into account, but some repeated phrases are more suspicious than others. To suss that out for yourself, you’ll need to look through the reports.

For example, if you’re looking at reviews for a phone charging cable, you might see the phrase “great quality for the price” recur again and again. That statement on its own isn’t too strange. It’s much odder to read the exact phrase “i bought these for my iphone 7 plus and they transfer data to the computer really well and get it charged without any problem” in multiple reviews.

Similarly, look for full mentions of a product’s brand or name. It’s not normal for multiple people to refer to, say, an “Inner Ear Bluetooth Headphones with Bass Boost Technology™.” Look through the reviews and analyzer reports yourself to decide what really sounds suspicious.

Lastly, both services check each reviewer’s history for certain criteria. For example, if a reviewer only has one review—or has multiple reviews for products from the same brand—that could mean something fishy, especially when combined with unusual repeated phrases. If they wrote about those products within days of each other, that’s even more suspicious. You can even check the reviewer’s wish list—if multiple dubious reviewers have the exact same items on their wish lists, then those products might be planted.

Again, none of these characteristics necessarily proves that a review is fake, but if the text shares a few of these patterns, you’re probably better off ignoring it. Move on to the next reaction for real information about the product.