Amazon Issues Lawsuits Targeting Fake Review Brokers

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Amazon has filed a flurry of lawsuits aimed at tackling the persistent problem of fraudulent customer reviews on its platform.

The e-commerce giant revealed this week that it is taking four alleged fake review brokers to court over their practices.

Read more on e-commerce fraud: Misconfigured Database Exposes 200K Fake Amazon Reviewers

These organizations typically approach individuals through social media, encrypted messaging and websites and ask them to write fake reviews in exchange for money, free products and other goodies, Amazon claimed.

The four organizations are as follows:

  • Nice Discount, which Amazon said connects bad actors operating Amazon selling accounts with reviewers via its “Product Tester Club”
  • Littlesmm, a website which Amazon claimed sells packages of fake reviews from customer accounts under its control across Australia, Canada and the US, with prices ranging from $20–$440
  • MangoCity, which Amazon claimed also uses customer accounts in its control to sell fake reviews ranging from $50–$4,000 through its website, video chats and email
  • Reddit Marketing Pro, which Amazon said sells fake reviews and other services to bad actors operating Amazon selling accounts. Prices can allegedly reach $6999 for 500 fake reviews, posted by customer accounts under the firm’s control

The four lawsuits come on top of legal action against 94 fraudsters as of the end of May 2023.

David Montague, Amazon’s vice president of Selling Partner Risk, said the firm’s goal is to build trust in its reviews by ensuring they all reflect customers’ actual experiences.

“Amazon welcomes authentic reviews—whether positive or negative—but strictly prohibits fake reviews that intentionally mislead customers,” he added.

“We continue to innovate on our proactive technology to detect fake reviews and other indications of unusual behavior. Another way we fight fake reviews is through legal action. Not only are we targeting the source of the problem but we’re sending a clear message that there’s no place for abuse in our store and we will hold fraudsters accountable.”

Chris Downie, CEO of anti-fraud platform Pasabi said review aggregators and business owners need to work together to tackle the problem.

“Fake review brokers play a central role in poisoning consumer decision-making, destroying businesses and inflicting untold damage on the wider economy,” he argued.

“Whilst it’s encouraging to see Amazon taking these fraudsters to task via the legal system, so much more needs to be done to tackle the growing fake review epidemic which influences around £4bn in UK consumer spending every year.”

Back in 2021, the UK’s competition watchdog launched a review into whether efforts by Google and Amazon to tackle fake reviews were sufficient.

That same year, the online giant claimed to have blocked 10 billion suspected bad listings in 2020 and over six million attempts to create new selling accounts.

Amazon said it also blocked 200 million fake reviews from its stores in 2022.

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