CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - We all have learned to count on reviews from ordinary people before we purchase a product, try a new service, or eat at a restaurant.
What if you based your decision on reading opinions that were not what they seem to be? Your hard earned money might go right down the drain if you are not aware of this latest issue. WBTV's cyber expert, Theresa Payton, has a warning about an old practice with a new twist.
It's a new site called FIVERR and even though the site is still in test mode there are lots of people hanging out there. The allure? It's the place where people share the things they will do for $5! Including, writing testimonials for businesses, even if they don't know a thing about the business.
HOW TO SPOT A POTENTIAL REVIEW FAKE:
If you see a big burst of reviews, all positive or all negative and within hours or a few days, you might have a scam. Look for similar patterns to the positive or negative feedback.
WHEN RESEARCHING A PRODUCT OR SERVICE
If the reviews seem to good to be true, go to multiple review and opinion pages to see what you can find
Go out to Facebook or Twitter and ask your social network for input
Check Consumer Reports
Check in with the Business Bureau where that product or service is located to see if the reviews are consistent with the online ratings
If you want to see how others use Gogo or other Wi-Fi services on airplanes look at Mashable's infographic:
There are many sites that allow people to post opinions. We have listed some options for you on three sites.
EPINION.COM: Sites like epinion.com try to set up a trusted network of opinion givers to avoid scams but they can still get through. If you see a problem on their site, go to: http://www.epinions.com/help/
YELP.COM: Yelp.com lets you report questionable material at their site: http://www.yelp.com/contact
AMAZON.COM: You can see Amazon.com's guidelines and report a problem at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/community-help/customer-reviews-guidelines
WORD OF THE WEEK:
GOGO – This is the service you can pay for on airplanes so you can stay connected via Wi-Fi. Most of the time you will see the Wi-Fi logo on the overhead bin or on your tray. Sometimes the service is free for limited use like checking Facebook.