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Store employee writes fake online review of his competitor, and it doesn’t end well

dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Proving once again that the Internet is a dangerous place, a jury in Quincy, Massachusetts, has reportedly decided that a jewelry store employee owes a competing store owner $34,500 for posting a false Yelp review on the internet.

The Patriot Ledger in Quincy reported the verdict April 5, noting Adam Jacobs, an employee of Toodie’s Fine Jewelry, has to pay Stephen Blumberg, the owner of Stephen Leigh Jewelers, the money for the emotional distress cause by knowingly posting false information. The jewelry stores are about a half-mile from each other, it was reported.

Jacob’s review was posted in August 2013, and claimed to detail a bad experience while shopping for a 1.5 carat diamond ring at Stephen Leigh Jewelers, it was reported. Stephen Blumberg’s lawsuit, filed in December 2013, stated that the interaction never happened, reported the Patriot Ledger.

The jury rendered a verdict on March 22, reported the Patriot Ledge, and news of the costly decision has reverberated across the internet, where wild claims are boldly made and often go unchecked. The fake post was up for several months, causing “emotional distress” for Blumberg, it was reported.

“He told the people we were thieves, that we were cold blooded thieves. I’ve never been convicted of anything in my life,” Blumberg told CBS Boston.

Studies in recent years have concluded fake reviews are a consistent problem on the internet, though experts say they’re often easy to spot. Two big clues: A lack of specific information in the review, and tons of positive reviews for a new place or product that were posted in a short period of time.

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