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Lifestyle

Sick of buying junk? Spot duds with this new secure shopping browser

The pandemic played a huge role in introducing online shopping to millions of people who otherwise wouldn’t have used it. By some estimates, there will be 300 million regular online shoppers by 2023.

How do you make sure your purchases, your payment methods, and your info are secure? Tap or click for four ways to make online shopping safer.

One of the biggest online shopping marketplaces is, of course, Amazon. The e-commerce giant smashed revenue records in 2020, and that’s continuing into 2021. That’s an incredible number of products changing hands. But how do you make sure you don’t buy a dud?

Here’s the backstory

Amazon sells millions of its own products, but it also functions as a one-stop location for others to do the same. When you buy from a third-party seller, there’s a greater chance you’ll end up with a product that doesn’t quite tick the boxes you thought it would.

To guard against this, many of us turn to the review section to determine if the product is worth the money. If you see plenty of negative or even just mediocre reviews, you know you need to keep searching.

But throngs of positive reviews and good experiences from other Amazon shoppers could sway you to add that item to your cart. But here’s the problem: Positive reviews can be faked. And it’s a huge problem for online shoppers.

How to spot fake product reviews and bad sellers

Navigate to a random product on Amazon.com. Scroll through the reviews. Sure, sometimes the fakes jump right out. There’s very little information, the reviewer promises miracles, the account hasn’t reviewed any other products, or you notice odd spelling and grammar that feels too off to be a simple typo.

Not all fake reviews are so blatant, though. There’s a very good chance you’ve skimmed right past a fake review, taking the writer at his or her word.

For years we’ve recommended trying out Fakespot, a free browser extension that spots fake reviews on some of the biggest online stores, including Amazon, eBay, Best Buy, Sephora and Walmart.

If you’re not into browser extensions or just want a more seamless way to shop safely, Fakespot has a brand new offering: An iOS app for iPhone that incorporates its scam-spotting tech into the shopping experience.

Using “state-of-the-art AI and machine learning,” Fakespot lets you shop without seeing fake reviews, counterfeits and unreliable sellers. Just how big is this problem? Fakespot estimates that between 30 and 40% of all reviews on Amazon are fake.

Instead of going to Amazon.com to shop, launch the Fakespot app. You can browse reviews and shop right through the app — all with the knowledge that the products and reviews you’re seeing are verified and legitimate.

You’ll see:

  • Review grades from A to F
  • An adjusted rating using only reliable reviews
  • Guard Seller Ratings to see if the seller is reliable
  • Highlights that show you the important reviews

Over the years, Fakespot says it has analyzed more than 9 billion reviews and sellers, spotting scam brands and sellers on a mission to take your money. Fakespot says its algorithms allow it to stay ahead of emerging threats, too, saving you time and money.

The Fakespot app is free to download.

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