A TV news item on KPRC 2 last week showed an undercover video taken in the food court at Houston’s Galleria. In the clip below you can see a woman in the food court approached by a man offering $10 cash for a five star review of Movers Fort Worth based in Bellaire Drive S, Fort Worth, TX. She agrees and the man then takes her phone and uses the Yelp App to leave a favourable review. Subsequently the review showed up word for word on the Yelp page for Movers Fort Worth. (Although Movers Fort Worth claims to be a moving company it is just a two-bit broker with a disposable office and telephone).
Movers Fort Worth is part of a nationwide fake review scam run by Sukhrab Karimov. His center of operations is the Movers Alliance of Westmorland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA which claims to be “An alliance of the best moving companies under one roof”. It is in fact no such thing and is simply front for dozens of scam moving companies including; The Incredible Movers Inc., ABC Moving & Storage, Professionals Movers, Pyramid Moving Systems, JT Relocation, All Out Moving & Storage, Green World Moving and many others.
Regular readers will know that we have highlighted the problem of moving company fake reviews many times in the past. Now fortunately Yelp have investigated the fake review network and issued Reputation Warnings (image below) on more than 100 listings for moving companies who are connected to the Movers Alliance.
Yelp have published a small portion of the evidence accumulated during the investigation.
Yelp noticed many reviews on listings associated with Movers Alliance that mention discounts in exchange for Yelp reviews. Here are some examples, with relevant portions highlighted.
Yelp were forwarded messages showing that users received discounts in exchange for posting reviews on Movers Alliance listings, including listings in different states than the business they transacted with.
Movers Alliance associated businesses offered payment in exchange for users moving reviews to listings in other states, with which the user had no experience.
Yelp have evidence of Movers Alliance agreements to remove reviews in exchange for refunds.
Yelp have evidence that businesses affiliated with Movers Alliance paid users for reviews.
Highlighting fake reviws for 100 moving companies is the tip of the iceburg but it’s a start.