Thanks to the internet, the world is much, much smaller. Through Facebook, you might be friends with someone half way across the world. Through Twitter, you might receive advice from the greatest minds of a generation. Through Instagram, you can see the world as if you are there.

Not all is good on social media, though. The anonymity allows people to adopt different personalities and it's far too common for businesses and individuals to take advantage of the anonymity with fake reviews.

So, how do you separate fake reviews from real ones?

Sometimes it's easy. If a review has no profile picture and no friends, they're probably fake. Sometimes, though, you have to do a little detective work. Here's an example:

These reviews (and several more just like them) are for a different moving company. If you notice, though, the company name is never mentioned. That's a huge red flag. You can also see that none of these reviewers live in the Bay Area and more than just the two pictured live in Glendale, which is outside Los Angeles -- no where near the home base of the company. While that's not entirely impossible (this company does long-distance moves), it's a little too coincidental.

You should also take a look at the last reviews. This company's last review was in May. Four months, during the busy season, is an awfully long time to go with no reviews. It could mean that the company is no longer even operational.

There are clues in the reviews

While horrible moves sometimes happen, if the review lists pretty much everything that could go wrong, take it with a grain of salt. It could be a competitor. On the other hand, if the review claims that the movers did everything from packing to watering the customer's plants, that's probably fake too.

I tend to pay the most attention to the reviews in the middle. Very few trolls or fake accounts post three-star reviews, and three stars can tell us both the good and the bad. When you do read the five and one-star reviews, look for personal details. One obvious personal detail might be where they moved from and to.

Yelp and other review sites are fantastic ways to get opinions on various businesses, but only if you learn how to read the reviews.

Featured image via Pixnio.