A flawed database revealed a concerted action to generate millions of fake reviews. SafetyDetectives safety researchers found this, like this Information Security-Magazin mentioned.
The database contains over 13 million records, including email addresses and WhatsApp or Telegram phone numbers for provider contacts as well as email addresses, last names, PayPal account details, and Amazon account profiles for review accounts.
Amazon fake review process
The process usually goes like this: Sellers send reviewers a list of products for which they want a 5-star rating. Then the evaluators actually make the purchase. After writing the review and sending a link to the sellers, the reviewers are paid through PayPal to compensate them for purchasing the product. They can also keep the product by themselves. According to SafetyDetectives, 200,000 people communicate over the network via the database.
Some fake reviews are also announced in WhatsApp or Telegram groups. This is also how the sellers hope to get fake reviews.
Amazon tries to block such processes, but in practice this is very difficult because customers appear this way. It is generally advised that buyers are at least skeptical about products with a very high 5-star rating.