Trying to fool us

By | Category: Travel news
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Is the review genuine? Is the competition real or just a fishing exercise? © Dan Sperrin

There are two stories separate but linked in that both suggest that fake online information is trying to influence us.

In the first and oldest (it was posted on April 12th), Butlin’s warned visitors to its Facebook page that there were fake promotions on social media promising free breaks and other big prizes. Yet this warning wasn’t on their blog (it might be when you read this) or on its website. This sounds like someone is phishing for names, addresses and personal information and is one of the hazards of social media. Butlin’s point out that there is blue tick by its name on the official Facebook page but that won’t deter some from going to the fake pages, donating their personal information to the sitea dn then either being flooded with fake offers or worse.

The second story comes courtesy of BBC Radio 5 live investigates today which has got into the habit of delivering some good scoops of late. Their investigators found that they could buy a false, five-star recommendation placed on one of the world’s leading review websites, Trustpilot. It also found online forums where Amazon shoppers are offered full refunds in exchange for product reviews.

Readers with long memories will remember that TripAdvisor has also had fake reviews posted on its site. Whether the Bangladeshi company that approached us some years ago saying that it would load favourable reviews in return for payment is still in business we don’t know. What we do know is that the whole industry of reviews has been aware of fake reviews and tries to monitor it. The degree of success with which they have managed to weed out fake reviews varies from company to company.

As Just about Travel has written on more than one occasion, treat any review with caution. Look at recent ones and see if dozens or hundreds take the same attitude. Dismiss single reviews and also reviews all appearing at much the same time and seeming to all be pro or ante the item you are looking up.

And check that the site you are on is the official one and not a clone set up deliberately deceive.

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