Community Issues

Shopping Online? Don't Get Fooled By Fake Reviews

Online tool helps you verify reviews' reliability.


Before you click the "add to cart" button while shopping online, its normal to want to check out the product reviews. But be warned! A new study from Fakespot.com, a site that analyzes and attempts to verify reviews, says consumers are being overwhelmed by fake reviews on the most popular retail sites.

In fact, Fakespot estimates 52 percent of reviews posted on Walmart.com and 30 percent of Amazon reviews are fake or unreliable.

What's causing the influx of fake reviews? Well, CBS News explains that manufacturers want to push their products to the top of searches on retail sites, and one way boost your product in the algorithm is by garnering lots of 5-star reviews. This means some companies will hire people to write rave reviews for a product, or just have bots take care of the reviews. Others will contact consumers and offer them a gift card or other perks if they give a 5-star review for a product they recently purchased.

So just how prevalent are fake reviews on products you might consider purchasing? We decided to test some products out with Fakespot's site ( which can also be installed as a Chrome extension ).

First, I decided to search The North Face Borealis backpack, listed at $109.01. The backpack seems to be incredibly popular, with 76% of its nearly 483 reviews giving it 5 stars.

But when you plug it into Fakespot, a quick analysis gives the reliability of the reviews an "F" grade!

In fact, Fakespot says Amazon has altered or removed approximately 228 reviews from this product already and has determined there is "high deception involved." (Note: The rating does not reflect the product's quality, just the reliability of the online reviews.

On Walmart.com, I searched for televisions and chose the TCL 32 HD Smart TV. The TCL TV costs $138.00 and has an average 3.7 review, out of 51 total reviews.

I searched on Fakespot, and it turns out these reviews get an "A" rating. In fact, Fakespot says more than 90 percent of the reviews are "high quality."

Both Amazon and Walmart told CBS News they moderate the quality of the reviews on their sites. Try out Fakespot for yourself, and be sure to let us know about any interesting findings!

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