I wouldn’t say I’m a savvy online shopper. I definitely have my tactics; buying from brands I trust, reading reviews, doing a bit of background research, but even so, it’s almost impossible to completely avoid scammers.
As the internet has evolved technologically, so have the abilities of scammers. They’re pretty much everywhere. From prank calls to texts “from the ATO”, to convincingly faking five-star product reviews, they’re pesky and they often succeed.
Hopefully, not for much longer. A new app design for Android and iOS called Fakespot might be the answer to our scam problems. True to its name, Fakespot is an application designed to spot fake reviews from scammy sellers, hopefully before they trick you into buying their products.
For a while now, the app’s creators have offered a scam-sniffing browser extension, but the app is an update to appeal to the increasing number of people that shop from their smartphone.
Right now, in its first life, the Fakespot app supports shopping on Amazon’s mobile site, but it’s also working out updates for eBay and Sephora.
Shopping on Amazon whilst using the app isn’t a totally new shopping experience, it’s just a trip with two major perks. First, the app will let you know if a seller has been slapped with bad reviews, both on the product you’re looking at and across the seller’s entire profile. Second, if the product has pretty good reviews, Fakespot will let you know how many of them might be fake, so you can make your mind up for yourself.
The top-notch scam sniffing abilities are courtesy of an AI that’s been trained on 8 billion reviews across the web. But how?
When it comes to analysing a review or the reviewer, Fakespot says that it looks for questionable patterns that might hint and some fake news, such as dodgy spelling or grammar, or dozens of positive reviews clumped together.
Although this has proven to be successful, this is a company that uses AI to analyse language, which means you can’t completely rely on them to do your detective work for you.
But if you’re in need of a free tool that may help you dodge the occasional dodgy seller, it’s worth a look.
You can download the Fakespot app here.