Fake five-star reviews for worthless products can be bought for as little as 85 pence each from a number of fake review companies prominently listed on Google’s search engines, an investigation by the Sunday Times has found.

For the investigation the newspaper launched a shoddy and ineffective lie detector phone app called Spot the Faker! for iPhone and Android handsets and then marketed it by buying dozens of fake reviews for £120. Many of the fake review firms stole the identities of celebrities and athletes to post them from, and the investigators identified more than a hundred apps that had used the fake review service.

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