Oct 15, 2012 4:02 PM by NBC News

Online Shopping: Beware Fake Reviews

(NBC NEWS) - Chances are before you buy something, especially big ticket items, you're going to read reviews from others who've made the same purchase.

But here's something you need to know about reviews: Some are made-up, completely fake and false, and and their frequency is rising.

"Fake reviews, fraudulent reviews, paid reviews, paid comments, those are all going to be increasing in frequency even with increased litigation and increased publicity around the topic," warns Gartner Research senior analyst Jenny Sussin.

The fake reviews have become so common the Federal Trade Commission has sued and forced some retailers to pay fines.

"The real problem here is deceptive advertising, and that's essentially what these fake reviews are," Sussin says. "The FTC and America deems them to be deceptive advertising."

Sussin says within two years, at least one out of every ten reviews you read will be a fake review, even though some online sites are trying to weed out the phoney ones.

The problem's become so prevalent, though, that a cottage industry has cropped up where fake reviews can be purchased.

"They purely exist so you can buy fake Facebook likes, so you can buy fake reviews, so you can buy fake ratings," Sussin explains.

Her advice: Read lots of reviews and go with personal recommendations when you can.


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