There are not only fake news but also fake reviews on the Internet, also called Opinion Spam.
Advertisers have observed that publicity will certainly make a brand or product known, but the decision to purchase will be more influenced by arguments and what other people are saying about the product or service. This has led new businesses: automated systems writing fake reviews.
The goal of fake reviews is clear: mislead readers and influence decision-making to give money to someone, and sometimes for nothing other than a dream.
Let’s take an example : TrueFit. One of the principles is to convince you that people in your neighbourhood are buying the product or service and are satisfied. We made some tests for you: the first page below was called from Belgium, but we used computers in other countries to see what’s happening and the result speaks itself: a given review came first from Karen from Gent (Belgium), or Karen from Groningen (NL), Karin from Auvergne (France), etc. The same text being translated by a bot and taking random cities from your country.
Trusted reviews and scam
The fake review, here for a scam, is quite easy to detect, but some others are being much more sophisticated. For example, you can find strange there’s no single review with * or **. Some are adding a very few bad reviews, but when you look at details, it is about late delivery date or issue with the parcel delivery company, and in all cases people were reimbursed and put only one * because being frustrated of not getting the product.
Then, some had the idea to look at independent trusted reviews, like TrustPilot. As you can see, all reviews have only one star… none has more than one star, but TrustPilot is giving two… strange, isn’t it? All this should invite you to much caution when you read reviews.
Announces for financial services can use, for example, photo of real trusted experts, but to promote another product. If you make a search on the picture from Google Search Images, you could find the same picture used in different context.
As example, in a fraud to bitcoin investment scam, a picture of a real trusted advisor from the USA was used, but mentioning another name from another company, and promoting a product the real advisor will, for sure, never advise.
Read more from our Fake news project and Internet scams.
- “Opinion Spam Detection : Detecting Fake Reviews and Reviewers” from Bing Liu.