How to Spot Fake Reviews & Save Your Money

While listening to Jen & Jill’s recent episode How to Get Affordable Quality vs. Cheap Quantity (Ep 379), one of my first questions was: how do we even trust what’s quality or not these days?

In a culture saturated with social media influencers and clickbait ads, it can be challenging to identify genuine advertisements and reviews.

And even worse—it’s getting harder and harder to identify outright scams!

After at least a few ill-advised purchases from Instagram (ugh, can my algorithm just start filtering out low-quality fast fashion disguised as new wardrobe staples already?!), it’s tempting to just say I’m not going to trust anything! 😩

I can’t afford to lose any more money on products that don’t live up to the hype.

But the reality is, I also have a value of “convenience,” so I’m probably not cutting out online shopping anytime soon.

Fortunately, I’ve learned some strategies to implement that help me better evaluate online products.

Have you tried any of my faves?

1. Check reviews to see if they were posted by verified buyers. I didn’t realize for the longest time that anyone can leave reviews on Amazon, even if they haven’t bought the product! 😬

Good news is you can filter reviews to only focus on those with a Verified Purchase tag.

If you want to dig a little deeper, you can even look at the reviewer’s profile to skim their review history. 

💡PRO TIP: Pay special attention to the language in each review— odds are, using similar phrases across reviews is a major red flag!

2. Take social media reviews with a grain of salt. Ok, maybe you’re not as susceptible as I am to these Instagram ads, but I frequently find myself scrolling through products on online boutique accounts wondering if the real thing is actually as nice as Isabella Influencer claimed.

Fortunately for all of us, the Federal Trade Commission now requires influencers to disclose their relationships with brands.

Yet, some of these disclosures still feel a little understated to me, so I keep a closer eye on the exact language they’re using to try to determine if they really believe in what they’re selling. 

3. BUT, use any negative social media comments to your advantage! Social media comments can be a quick gut-check.

This is not a comprehensive tip by any means as it’s possible for companies to delete comments, but I’ve noticed truly disgruntled customers often take to social media to voice their complaints.

These negative comments have helped me identify several “bad” companies that don’t align with my spending values.

Alternatively, I’ve come across several business accounts that don’t have any comments, which is at least a yellow flag for me.

4. Harness the power of AI to spot fake reviews for you! It can be exhausting and time-consuming weeding through so many reviews to discover what’s real and what’s not.

When in doubt, you can turn to Fakespot, a free browser extension powered by AI that scans reviews while you’re shopping online. Fakespot will alert you if the reviews aren’t reliable and try to find you a better deal!

💡BONUS TIP: To get even more bang for your buck, you could double dip from AI-powered tools to score some major deals on those reliably related products using Beni.

Beni, which can be used as a Chrome extension or iOS app, searches the top secondhand sites to find comparable secondhand options on any clothing item you’re looking for.

Catching deals while implementing more sustainable shopping practices? Sign me up! **

Until next time,
Misti

⭐️⭐️ P.S. Want to share all this goodness with your friends AND earn cool Frugal Friends merch?

**Means this is a sponsored or affiliate section. We may earn a small fee or commission when you choose to try one of our sponsor or affiliate partners. But opinions are still 1000% our ow.

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