To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Amazon found to be riddled with thousands of fake five-star reviews: How to spot a fake review online

A Which investigation found that hundreds of products from unknown brands have five-star, unverified reviews

 Amazon is “littered” with thousands of potentially fake five-star reviews, according to a Which investigation

The consumer association found that hundreds of tech products from unknown brands have reams of five-star ratings and reviews, many from so-called unverified buyers. 

The headphone category had the most seemingly fake reviews and ratings, but many were also found beneath listings for fitness bands, cameras and dash cams, and smartwatches. In total, hundreds of products under 14 categories were investigated. 

One unknown product highlighted as having particularly suspicious ratings was a pair of headphones made by a brand called Celebrat. At the time of the investigation, it had 439 five-star reviews. All unverified, and all posted within 24 hours. 

In fact, more than 10,000 reviews from unverified buyers were discovered on just 24 pairs of headphones.

Reviews on Amazon are marked as “verified” when the retailer can tie a particular purchase of an item to the person writing the review. If you bought a pair of headphones via Amazon, for example, and then posted a review, Amazon can assume you’ve actually used the product. 

For unverified reviews, Amazon can’t confirm if the person writing the review has used, or even bought, the product in question and this creates a grey area. 

That’s not to say that all verified reviews are genuine, but it’s easier to fake an unverified review on Amazon with few consequences. 

In response, Amazon said it: “invests significant resources to protect the integrity of reviews in our store because we know customers value the insights and experiences shared by fellow shoppers. Even one inauthentic review is one too many. We have clear participation guidelines for both reviewers and selling partners and we suspend, ban, and take legal action on those who violate our policies.”

This isn’t the first time the issue has been raised. In January, a similar report by Which found that a wireless charger, called the Kuppet Wireless Power Bank, had been awarded an Amazon’s Choice rating, despite having what appeared to be around 700 fake reviews. 

It should be noted that the reviews in question have not been confirmed as being fake; they just appear to be suspicious. It may be, in some cases, that unknown brands that offer cheap products get positive reviews because their product does the job at a low price, making them good value for money.

As with any online shopping, doing your research will prevent you buying a dud. All of Expert Reviews‘ standalone reviews, as well as the mini reviews you’ll find on our “best of” round-ups, are independent and honest. 

READ NEXT: Best headphones | Best fitness trackers | Best smartwatch | Best dash cam | Best camera

How to spot a fake review

  • A large number – hundreds or thousands – of positive reviews should be treated as suspicious
  • Be more vigilant when reading reviews for products from unknown brands 
  • Research the brand and see if you can find a mixture of positive and negative reviews elsewhere
  • Check the seller’s profile and their Seller Information page for any red flags 
  • Look out for repetition or reviews that appear to have been copied and pasted on multiple products
  • Check the date and times reviews were left – if multiple have posted in a short space of time, be suspicious
  • Filter out unverified reviews by clicking the link that shows the number of reviews before choosing “Verified Purchase Only” from the filter menu

Read more