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Trustpilot Warns Consumers About Potential Online Exploitation Following the Coronavirus Outbreak

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Surge in COVID-19 and corona related domains leads to placement of consumer alerts

Trustpilot is warning consumers about exploitation online following the corona outbreak. Since January Trustpilot has detected at least 90 new profile pages on the platform referencing COVID-19 or coronavirus in their domain name. Currently, around 3 new domains including these terms are added every day.

While many of these companies are legitimate, Trustpilot is advising consumers to exercise caution when dealing with any company making claims or providing services around treatment, prevention or testing for coronavirus.

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Trustpilot has previously added information on their website notifying all consumers how COVID-19 is impacting reviews and asking them to be mindful of the crisis when reading and writing reviews. Now, further information is being added to domains that offer anything from treatments, medicines and testing related to COVID-19.

Trustpilot’s Investigations team is assessing all such companies on a continued basis. In those cases where businesses have actively tried to mislead consumers and exploit the coronavirus outbreak, Trustpilot will be taking further action to warn consumers and will also be sharing the details with the relevant authorities for them to assess and take the appropriate action.

Carolyn Jameson, Chief Legal and Policy Officer, Trustpilot said, “One of the benefits of being an open platform is that we give consumers the opportunity to warn each other if a company is not living up to their promise. But given how vulnerable people are at this extraordinary time, we wanted to inform all consumers about the need to exercise extra caution. We always encourage consumers to use sound judgment and in the current situation to rely on the guidance given by relevant authorities when it comes to treatments and testing related to the coronavirus.”

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Trustpilot is also rolling out new guidelines making it easier for consumers and businesses to navigate. The new guidelines will be followed by a new process for companies and consumers to flag reviews.

“We want to ensure Trustpilot remains a place where consumers can understand and trust the information on our site. Our new guidelines add yet another layer of transparency and easy to understand explanation on how our platform operates and helps to promote the best possible behaviour,“ said Carolyn Jameson.

The new guidelines and updated flagging process comes on the back of a new study showing that 49% of global consumers worry that fake reviews will lead them to waste money on poor products and services, with four-in-ten (40%) saying they are very concerned about their freedom of speech.

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