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/ Source: TODAY
By Ree Hines

At TODAY we take care to recommend items we hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY may get a small share of the revenue.Using interviews with specialists, online reviews and personal experience, TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! TODAY does have affiliate relationships with various online retailers. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.

It may not come as a surprise to consumers who regularly read reviews before making purchases, but not every single rave or rant is genuine.

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It's certainly no surprise to Amazon. The online retail giant filed a lawsuit against more than 11,000 "John Does" last Friday because the company believes the fakers are harming their brand by swapping five-star reviews for $5.

"I applaud Amazon for really trying to take a lead role in cracking down on this activity," shopping and consumer expert Lisa Lee Freeman told TODAY. "It hurts the consumer, and its breaking the law."

And it's not a problem limited to any one retailer.

So what's a consumer who's in the market for some reliable information to do?

Here are some tips from Freeman:

  1. Check reviews for the same product on more than one retailer's website and see what evaluators from sites like Consumer Reports and CNET have to say.
  2. Look for patterns — if multiple reviewers are saying the same thing the same way, whether positive or negative, consider it a red flag.
  3. Classic advice might just be the best advice here: If the review sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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