Watch out for fake online reviews and review sites

Source: Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY

Websites and online product reviews are increasingly pretending to contain legitimate opinions about products but are often simply for-hire endorsements or promotional material, experts say. Deceptive review sites are among the first things consumers searching for reviews on products including juicers or treadmills would find, but they come and go so fast, it's difficult for regulators to police them, says Christine Frietchen, editor-in-chief of "The big problem is that these sites are turning up every day in consumers' online research during the holidays when they are looking for gifts and trying to do their homework like everyone tells them to do," says Frietchen, whose site summarizes the best expert and user reviews on the Web.

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