How to Tell If Reviews Are Fake

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Updated October 28, 2022

The process of understanding how to tell if reviews are fake can help you save the reputation of your business from unethical competitors who can be on the hunt to take you down. Unfortunately, some business representatives spend time and resources trashing their competition to get to the top. Whether it be on Facebook, review sites, or blogs, it seems anything can happen; you can get fake reviews at any time. 


  • Check out the reviewer’s profile on the review site, and look at their posts to see if they praise one product or place. If so, they are most likely fake reviewers.
  • If an account does not have a profile picture, it is most likely a fake review account.
  • Look for common phrases and words in the review posts to determine if they are fake.

So, to help you learn how to spot fake reviews online, let us go through some essential steps. But here are some specific steps on how to spot fake Yelp Reviews. While fake reviews are bad for your business, real reviews generally are not, and you should learn how to encourage customers to leave reviews so that the word can spread about your business.

How to Spot Fake Reviews Online

STEP 1 Beware of People who Set the Scene

According to a Cornell study, setting the scene in reviews is a red flag. For instance, honest hotel reviews are more likely to incorporate keywords like ‘bathroom,’ ‘price,’ and ‘check-in.’ Fake reviewers tend to use words that set the scene. For instance, ‘business trip,’ ‘vacation,’ or ‘my wife.’

STEP 2 Look out for the Overuse of Verbs and Words like ‘I’ and ‘me.’ 

Online reviewers that use these words usually try to make themselves more credible by using personal pronouns. In addition, honest reviews use more nouns, while fake reviews use more verbs.

Note: For businesses, proper know-how on how to test new products (with customer involvement) can greatly reduce the percentage of fake reviews that hold water.

STEP 3 Watch out for Profiles Without Photos and Those Using Generic Names

Fake online reviews usually come from a company that has no face. The same company will push more reviews on the platform through multiple accounts. To spot these types of accounts, look for names such as Jane or John Smith or accounts with names that are just full of letters and numbers. Approximately 99% of the time, these accounts do not have a profile picture.

STEP 4 Examine the Timing and Postage of Reviews

If the overall number of reviews spikes within a short time frame, this indicates a fake account. But there are exceptions. When a product launches, or on Christmas, Black Friday, or any other major buy season, there can be a spike in the number of reviews. This is also obvious with some fake IDMB reviews where a movie is review bombed with negative reviews before it has been released.

STEP 5 Look for the repetition of phrases

Browse through a couple of reviews and see if you can find common phrases or words. For example, suppose you find repetitive phrases in different reviews. In that case, the client that needs fake reviews requires these phrases in their reviews.

STEP 6 Dive Deep into the Profile of the Reviewer

Professional reviewers also dish out fake reviews. In most cases, they are given a product for free, and then they provide a five-star review. Although they are hard to spot, you can find them by clicking on their reviewer profile. Next, what if you see only five-star reviews without any negative reviews? The chances are that they are receiving payments for reviews. Finally, you should be aware of a red flag if the reviewer has five-star reviews for products or services from the same company. 


Can you trust online reviews? Here’s how you can spot fakes

It is easy to find thousands of fake reviews on websites like Facebook, Yelp, Amazon, and Google.

Once you read a negative review, do you think your first review is fake or real?

Of course, it is normal to think that any review you read next is fake. But the most important thing is that knowing how to spot a fake review will help you identify, flag, and report unfair reviews.

What do you need to do if you get a fake review?

If you are on Amazon and want to notify the platform that you have seen a fake review, click the “report abuse” button.

STAT: About 84% of consumers openly say that they cannot easily spot a fake review. (source)

Coby McKinley Profile image