Most of us working online will at one point or another decide to buy an information product to help us build our online business. It’s the fastest way to get information on a particular topic, and a well written information product will teach you how to improve your business. They can be very much worth the money.

As with anything else having to do with working at home, they can also be scams.

Many products make outrageous claims and back them up with fake testimonials from “delighted” customers. The challenge to you is figuring out when the testimonial is real.

1. Check the photos.

Many product testimonials use photographs of the person they claim to be written by. It makes them look more legitimate.

However, there are many free and paid stock photo sites out there. Unscrupulous website owners can take a stock image and write a testimonial to go with the photo and false name. It looks great on the page.

Photos are easy to check out once you know how. Right click on the photo and find “View Image” in the menu that pops up. This will let you see where the image is.

Copy and paste this location into a reverse image finder such as TinEye. It will pull up any matching images it can find.

If the image is from a stock photo site, there may be plenty of places it is found.

Look at the places the image is found. See if the person’s name changes from site to site. If it does, you know the testimonial is not legitimate.

2. Read the testimonials.

Sometimes a photo will legitimately be used on a number of product testimonials. Many marketing “gurus” review a lot of products because they’re given a free review copy. You may see their face on many reviews for that reason.

If that’s the case, take a look at all their testimonials. Are they all rave reviews? Do they mention receiving a free review copy? When did they review the product?

The FTC has been working on policing online marketing, and testimonials is one of the areas they’ve looked at. A good testimonial should mention if a free product or other incentive was given. A date is a good idea as well.

Of course, only the good testimonials will be posted on a site anyhow, so rave reviews are to be expected. But sometimes they won’t quite ring true. It’s nothing you can necessarily define, but if it feels like a false review to you, don’t trust it.

3. Can the testimonial be verified?

Many testimonials don’t give you enough information to confirm that they’re legitimate. Who is J. Doe or John D. anyhow? You have no way of knowing.

Better testimonials have a way to contact the person who wrote it. If you’re talking online marketing stuff, there may be a link to that person’s site, or at least the name of their website. It gives their testimonial more authority if they’re someone big in their industry.

4. Search part of the testimonial text.

An easy way for a lazy writer to create a fake testimonial is to take parts of other testimonials. Much easier to take someone else’s testimonial and apply it to your own.

Obviously, you need to skip any parts with the product name in it, as that’s too specific. Pick a section of the testimonial and plug it into Google, and see what you find. The closer the match to testimonials on other sites, the more likely it’s fake.

Even with all of these tips, you can’t be certain you won’t be fooled by a faked testimonial. All you can do is cut down the odds. Make sure you don’t get rushed by sites claiming their special deal will end soon or sell out or whatever excuse they give for you to hurry up and buy.

There will always be another product you can buy to help your business. You probably don’t have the money to waste on junk. Take your time and only buy when you’re confident the product will help you take your business in the direction you want it to go.