The growth of e-commerce has allowed consumers to shop from the comfort of their homes. With online retail giants such as eBay, Amazon, Wish, and others, people can enjoy the benefits of online shopping all day long. But there is a downside to it that makes online purchases less secure than you would expect.  Many sellers still rely on fake reviews as their method of attracting new buyers.

Customers are more likely to buy a product if there are good reviews to back their quality up. But those reviews are not always genuine. More and more sellers buy fake reviews or exchange free products for the positive feedback.

Here’s how you can recognize fake reviews before you make the wrong decision.

Look for Common Red Flags

There are over 95 million loyal shoppers on Amazon, and many sellers still depend on good product reviews, and they won’t hesitate to pay for them.

Once free goods get involved, people don’t hesitate to leave amazing and often exaggerated reviews. While the sellers benefit from social proof, the customers end up paying the price of false statements.

If you don’t want to fall for fake reviews the next time you decide to buy something online, you have to train your eye to spot the common red flags.

Back in the day, you could tell whether a review was fake or not by checking the IP address of the reviewer. But nowadays, people use NordVPN and other VPN services to hide their IP addresses from the public eye.

Not that it’s a bad thing — hiding your IP address has many privacy-related benefits. But with IP as an obvious giveaway being out of the window, you have to rely on the other red flags.

Here are some of the most signs to look for when scrolling through the review section:

  • If a product has a low number of reviews compared to similar products in the same niche, chances are the seller doesn’t make many sales on it. But the product listing could be new, so make sure to check the seller’s page for other products before you deem this as a red flag.
  • If all reviews on a product page are recent or posted around the same date, chances are the seller went on a shopping spree for some fake ratings. An honest review page contains reviews with various dates and structures.
  • Some sellers state in the product description that they offer free shipping or free samples in exchange for a review. If that’s the case, the chances are that many of their reviews are staged. After all, anyone can leave a positive review after receiving a free product, even though it might not be the most honest one.
  • If the product has too many five star reviews with little or no text, the ratings are likely fake. A genuine review always explains the rating and provides tips or pointers related to the product.

Pay Attention to Average Reviews

Amazon has been struggling with fake reviews for years now, and they still didn’t find a way to shake them off. There are other ways you can determine the quality of a product, as long as you know what to look for.

For instance, if you want to check the review section, look for 3 to 4-star reviews. These often tend to be the most accurate ratings with helpful comments and insights from real buyers.

One-star reviews are not the most reliable source of information either. People who leave one-star ratings are often frustrated with slow shipping or poor customer support service.

Moreover, buyers can take a step further and research the product on other sites. This way, you can find many review sources. By comparing different references, you can determine whether a product is worth the money.

Make Safer Purchases

Even though it is fun and enjoyable, online shopping is not always the safest route to choose. But you can make your purchases safer and improve your shopping habits. Telling the difference between a fake and a genuine product review is the way to go.

You can also use third-party tools such as FakeSpot and ReviewMeta. They aid in spotting fake reviews across different retail sites. Regardless of which method you choose, always do some research first. And read reviews on many sites before putting the product to your shopping cart.