Over 1200 North American businesses in one network getting fake Google reviews
Kay Dean of Fake Review Watch leads Reveal's correspondent Laura Sydell into the underworld of fake online reviews.
The worldwide ocean of Google reviews is rife with pollution. A New Jersey medical clinic, a German software company, an art gallery in Dubai, a UK flooring and furniture company, and a Pakistani logistics service, among other businesses, are receiving Google reviews from the same profiles. Some of these profiles are even using lifted photos of Hollywood figures as their profile pictures.
This Fake Review Watch video formed the basis of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's investigation into a North American fake review network. This network is faking Google reviews for over 1200 businesses. A disturbing number of U.S. medical, mental health, and dental practices appear to be part of this network. The CBC story was released on May 24, 2021.
Fake consumer reviews are a massive problem on Yelp, Google and other sites. Facebook is the source of much of this fraud. Nobody, not district attorneys, not regulators like the FTC, nor Big Tech is doing anything about it. In fact, Big Tech profits whether reviews are real or fake.
U.S. businesses use a Bangladeshi Facebook group to post fake Google and Trustpilot reviews. Businesses faking include The Center: A Place of Hope, a mental health facility in Edmonds, Washington; Southern California Pain Consultants in Torrance; and Rheumatology Therapeutics Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Fake Review Watch's video Bangladeshi Facebook Group Fakes Google and Trustpilot Reviews for US Businesses prompted Trustpilot to slap a warning on its site for The Center: A Place of Hope, a mental health treatment facility in Edmonds, Washington. The warning states that Trustpilot has "detected a number of fake reviews for this company."
Yelp's Elite program is corrupted with members who sell fake reviews. There is a black market for Yelp Elite reviews in Facebook review exchange groups. We point out 8 Yelp Elite reviewers who are faking reviews for southern California contractors.
Torrance Hernia Center, a surgery center in southern California, is faking its Yelp reviews, but Yelp hides this information from consumers.
Don't trust any online review site. This is a case study in how one contractor games multiple review sites. LA Green Development, a solar and roofing company in Los Angeles, is faking reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook, Buildzoom, Houzz, Porch, the Better Business Bureau, and Angie's List.
Google is riddled with fake consumer reviews. Thousands of fake Google reviews are arranged via Facebook review exchange groups. Google does far too little to clean up the fraud.
Fake Review Watch is run by Kay Dean, a former federal fraud investigator, who has conducted an in depth investigation over three years into fake reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook, and other review sites.
We're looking out for consumers who are being deceived by big tech and dishonest businesses.