Movie review or rating fraud is a deceptive practise where individuals or groups manipulate movie ratings or reviews for various purposes, such as financial gain, promoting or defaming a film, or influencing public perception. While it is not uncommon for people to have different opinions about movies, fraudulent activities can artificially inflate or deflate ratings, misleading viewers and potentially impacting the success of a film.
Scammers take this opportunity to impersonate reputed organisations like Warner Brothers, Marvel Studios, etc. A few examples of reported fake websites related to Alamo – “Draft House Cinema,” are http://www.alamorate.com , https://www.alamotop.com , https://alamo-top.com and https://www.alamozone.com . Most of these websites expire as soon as they they are complaints raised on them and new similar ones get created in less than an hour.
Some common methods used in movie review/rating fraud :
- Paid Reviews: Individuals or groups are paid to write positive or negative reviews about a movie, regardless of their actual opinion or having watched the film. This can create an illusion of widespread public support or criticism.
- Review Manipulation: Fraudsters use various techniques to manipulate the ratings and reviews on movie websites or platforms. They may employ bots or fake accounts to submit multiple positive or negative reviews, artificially inflating or deflating the overall rating.
- Review Swapping: Fraudsters engage in reciprocal arrangements where they exchange positive reviews with other individuals or groups. This helps maintain a positive rating while avoiding suspicion.
- Astroturfing: This involves creating fake user accounts or personas to post reviews that appear genuine. The intention is to create the illusion of a broad consensus among viewers.
- Review Bombing: A coordinated effort to flood a movie’s rating page with many negative reviews, often driven by a particular agenda or motive.
Modus operandi of movie review /rating fraud :
- Step 1 – Victims get a message on WhatsApp and social media messengers – “You can earn by sitting at home in your comfort; all you have to do is give ratings to the movies.” The message promises daily earnings between Rs 2500 and 5,000 and
- Step 2 – Victims are advised to join a Telegram group, sign into a fake website (more details in the intro), and start writing reviews to earn money.
- Step 3 – Victims are told to watch the movie before they give it a rating to get the commission or bonus. The commission for rating a movie ranges between Rs 2500 and Rs 5,000 and is deposited in their bank accounts. The commission varies for Hindi, English, and Indian movies.
- Step 4 – Victims will be super impressed as the bonus comes without payment. Meanwhile, in the Telegram group, many of the members keep posting messages saying that they have earned huge amounts by investing x amount of money and getting paid 2x to 5x times.
- Step 5 – Victims now start paying amounts ranging from 25000 to 100000 INR as a paid task and start watching the movies and writing reviews, and their commissions are between 2x and 5x as they reflect in the wallet, but they are unable to withdraw.
- Step 6 – Victims are advised to invest equal amounts of money that is visible in the wallet and perform the future task of watching and writing reviews, for which the victim gets 2X–5X that reflects in the wallet.
- Step 7 – These steps continue, and victims keep investing in an endless loop, assuming that they can withdraw the amounts from their wallets. Scammers even make realistic promises that if the x amount is paid as tax, the money will be deposited in the victim’s account.
- Step 8 – After a few paid tasks, the victims realise it’s a fraud and reach out to the cyber police for help, as the money is shown in the wallet but they are unable to withdraw.
Few Safety Tips :
Scammers often exploit people’s desire for quick earnings, making them vulnerable to fraudulent schemes. To avoid falling victim to such scams, here are some important points to keep in mind:
- Never subscribe to messages or offers promising easy money or high earnings, especially through platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram, or social media messengers.
- Before signing up on any website or platform, ensure it is reputable and trustworthy. Check for official websites and verify their credentials, such contact information and compare with similar company websites to identify the possibility of impersonation.
- Never make payment upfront or joining fee for any opportunity that talks about earning money in multiples.
- Never provide sensitive personal information, such as bank account details, credit card numbers, or identification documents, to unknown individuals or unsecured websites.
- When considering movie reviews or ratings, rely on reputable and established sources. Avoid relying solely on user-generated reviews on unfamiliar or suspicious platforms.
- If you encounter fraudulent schemes or suspect movie review/rating fraud, call helpline 1930 alternatively report on https://cybercrime.gov.in/ .