Prof. Cavazos: Fake Product Reviews Are Impacting E-Commerce - and It's in the Tens of Billions in the U.S. Alone
June 16, 2021
Contact: Office of Advancement and External Relations
Fraudulent product reviews—the practice of creating and selling fake reviews of products and services for posting to online retail sites—is influencing about $28 billion in consumer spending in the U.S. economy, according to a new study co-authored by Roberto Cavazos, director of Risk Management and Cybersecurity programs in The University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business. All told, the practice is behind an estimated $152 billion in purchases around the world.
In coverage by Infosecurity Magazine, the new study by CHEQ, a Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity company specializing in risk management for online advertising, asserts that the U.S. economy is seeing the widespread effects of fake reviews, to the tune of an estimated $4 billion each in the travel and fashion sectors, $3 billion in the electronics sector, $2 billion in furniture and homewares and $1 billion in entertainment.
“Given the size of the market, the ease of entry and the immediate economic benefits, bad actors remain highly incentivized to engage in fake reviews,” Prof. Cavazos says in the article. "This complex market is adversely influencing our purchases, causing significant economic detriment, creating real revenue losses for businesses, and severely diminishing trust in online purchasing."
Fake reviews, often called "five-star" or "top picks," are created and sold in underground markets. Sometimes this work is done by people, but increasingly it's by ad fraud bots that infiltrate paid search and social-media campaigns.
Read the article in Infosecurity.