Influx of fake reviews hurting consumers and companies

The Federal Trade Commission has announced its first case against a marketer's use of phony paid reviews on an independent retail website.

"The FTC settled a case against a company that bought fake Amazon reviews for its weight loss pills," said Federal Trade Commission attorney Michael Ostheimer. "People rely on reviews and when a company buys fake reviews, it hurts both shoppers and companies that play by the rules."

Fake reviews are increasingly prevalent across many top retailer websites, according to a study from Fakespot.

Red flags for consumers include:

• A one-day surge in five-star reviews

• Broken grammar

• Reviews from reviewers who post hundreds of reviews in one day

It's reported that some companies are hiring people or using bots to also post fake "bad" reviews for competitors.

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