When You Shouldn't Trust Online Reviews - WSPA.com

When You Shouldn't Trust Online Reviews

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UPSTATE, S.C. -

Owning Two Doors Down, a small business in downtown Spartanburg, Kelly Blackwell knows the importance of her online image.

"Definitely rely on reviews heavily and actually even give incentive for my Facebook reviews," said Blackwell.

It's the same for Bubba's BBQ & Bash. While the owners are busy running the place, they rely on others to keep up with their online happenings.

"We have people, friends who go on Facebook, things like that," said Co-Owner Rick Morris. "And we're always listening and looking out for those things."

That's because just one bad review can cost them.

And now the Better Business Bureau is warning of a new threat. It says there's been a series of reports where small retailers and restaurants are being threatened with negative online reviews to the BBB if they don't pay up with bitcoin, the virtual online currency that's nearly impossible to trace.

So far, there haven't been any reports of that happening to businesses in the Upstate. But it's a good reminder to consumers that you can't always believe everything you read.

To help you know which ones to trust, look for at least two dozen reviews for any given business. More reviews usually mean a more credible trend.

Read a poster's other reviews too. If they're using the same type of language in each one, that's a sign that they may be getting paid.

Don't rely on the excessively positive and negative ones. See what people in the middle are saying for a more accurate assessment.

"If there's ten really good reviews and one really bad one, you can usually go by the majority," said Blackwell.

And if you think a review is fake, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

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Tracey Early
Tracey co-anchors the 5:30 and 7 p.m. newscasts and is a general assignment reporter.
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