How to Spot Fake Yelp Reviews

Coby McKinley Profile image

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Updated February 13, 2023

Are you interested in knowing how to spot fake Yelp reviews? Today, we will share with you some of the common ways to identify a fake Yelp review. Sadly, although Yelp has a good system for spotting fake reviews, it does not work as it should. According to a Harvard Business Report, 20% of reviews on Yelp are not legit. Unfortunately, this percentage is huge, and some of the fake reviews could be about your business.


  • About 1 in 5 reviews on Yelp are not legitimate.
  • Unscrupulous reviewers use fake Yelp review accounts to target businesses.
  • The first step of identifying if you are dealing with a fake reviewer is determining if they are in your customer database.

If you don’t want your business to fall prey to Yelp fake reviews, look for a reliable way to track online reviews. You first need to know how to spot them and then take the right steps to remove them. Once you know how to spot them, you can learn how to remove fake reviews on Yelp, you will be in a position to grow your brand and keep your business name clean. Then you can read our guide on how to get Yelp reviews to help your business grow.

5 Common Steps for Spotting Fake Reviews 

STEP 1 Check the Profile Photo of the Reviewer

False user accounts generate fake Yelp reviews. Click on the reviewer’s profile photo and search for images. In most cases, their photos originate from a free website. This discovery means that the reviewer is submitting fake Yelp reviews using a dummy account. This is always the first step in telling if reviews are fake.

STEP 2 Reviews Streaming in Multiple Locations

Real Yelp reviews cannot come from one person reviewing companies in different cities. Real reviewers operate in specific locations. So, what if you find a reviewer who uses the same tone on different reviews for various companies across multiple states? Then that is a sign of a fake reviewer.

STEP 3 Similar Reviews for Businesses in Similar Industries

If a reviewer posts negative reviews for several pizza restaurants, then there is a chance that the reviewer is fraudulent.

STEP 4Check Your Company Customer Database

If you store your customers’ purchases, it is important to check if the reviewer of the negative post is one of your customers. This method will help you know if this is an honest or a fake reviewer. This is also an important step when trying to spot fake Google reviews.

STEP 5 Look at the Grammar and the Style of Language

The use of phrases and words can easily determine if the person is a fake Yelp reviewer. For instance, if the reviewer posts “100 USD” instead of “a hundred dollars,” this indicates that the person is a non-native English speaker who is not experiencing American life and language. Additionally, sometimes reviews can have a bias based on any number of things, like with fake IMDB reviews, and there is really nothing you can do to prevent them, you just have to be diligent in having them removed.


How long does it take to remove a review from Yelp for violating content guidelines?

Yelp will review TOS violations at their discretion.

Is there anything one can do if Yelp does not remove a fake review?

It is important NOT to respond to the review. If you do, it can lead to something known as the ‘Streisand Effect. ‘ You will end up driving more attention to the reviewer and their negative review.

What is review manipulation?

Review manipulation is the effort to create misleading, false, or inauthentic feedback about a company’s product or service. The most common example of review manipulation is using fake reviews to damage the rivals’ reputations through paid reviews.

STAT: Approximately 91% of 18-34-year-olds treat online reviews the same way as personal recommendations. (source)

Coby McKinley Profile image