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.."
Probably no other form of online fraud affects more people than fake online reviews. Twenty-first century consumers rely heavily on online reviews in making purchasing decisions. Surveys such as a 2018 Pew study found that 93 percent of U.S. adults use online reviews and ratings when buying something for the first time, and 88 percent say online reviews and ratings make them feel confident about their purchasing decisions.
Fraudulent reviews are more deceptive and harmful than other forms of false advertising because consumers believe they are written by legitimate, unbiased customers. Businesses across all professions—including doctors, dentists, and lawyers—are actively deceiving their very clients through fake online reviews. The ramifications of fake reviews can be severe.
Fraudulent reviews constitute unfair or deceptive acts or practices that impact commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Soliciting for, selling, or writing fake reviews also violates the community standards of many review platforms, including Facebook, Google and Amazon.
According to FTC Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, “ Fake reviews distort our markets by rewarding bad actors and harming honest companies. The problem is growing, and the Federal Trade Commission should attack it.”
The massive problem of fake online reviews and what needs to be done about it.
A psychiatric practice fakes reviews, fakes awards, fakes being a lawyer, and defrauds people. What do the Santa Clara County DA, the California Medical Board, and the State Bar do about it? NOTHING.
Some unethical doctors use online marketers to obtain fake consumer reviews. In one case, a Bangladeshi fake review broker arranges fake Google and Trustpilot reviews for US medical practices. Other doctors trade for fake reviews in Facebook review exchange groups.