Word on the Street: Fake online reviews

BROOKLYN - Giving your own business a five-star online rating could cost you.

Regulators have announced a strict crackdown on false Internet reviews that will include hefty fines for places that review themselves on Yelp, City Search or other similar sites.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman set up a phony yogurt shop in Brooklyn to trap businesses that paid for glowing reviews. He says the investigation uncovered 19 companies that paid people to write positive online recommendations, leading to fines of $350,000.

Many Brooklyn residents say they’re weren’t surprised, and hope fines will help ensure that they get opinions from other consumers only.

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