With the advent of online shopping, it’s easy to find designer goods at a steal.It’s also more difficult to tell a counterfeit–you can’t see the stitching or material of an item for yourself.
“It’s harder than ever to tell whether a product is legitimate,” said Te Smith, vice president of communications at MarkMonitor. “If you fall for it, you risk wasting money, getting a subpar product and putting your privacy at risk.”
MarkMonitor is a brand protection firm that represents about 50 of the Fortune 100 companies. They have a few tips for whether you can tell an item is legitimate before hitting “buy.”
Here’s their list of things to look for:
-Price: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If it’s a small fraction of the retail price, you’ve probably got a counterfeit.
-The site: counterfeit sites often take the time to make their operations look legit. But do some investigating and see if they have completed “FAQ” or “About Us” sections.
-Return policy: if there’s no return policy listed, it’s probably not a legitimate company.
–Check the designer’s website for their list of authorised dealers; if they aren’t on the list, they may not be the real deal.
-Counterfeiters sometimes use of a brand name in a URL in order to divert traffic away from the legitimate brand and make a buck off the back of a brand. If a site’s URL contains a construction like this — the manufacturer’s brand name, the word “discount” or something like “outlet store” that’s a clue the website might be cybersquatting and selling fakes.
-Sites with names that are a misspelled version of a brand. Another squatters’ trick is to drop the period between the “www” and a well-known brand name, wwwbrand.com rather than www.brand.com. That’s a technique rogue sites will use sometimes to trick the unwary shopper.
-Watch your searches: It’s against the rules for counterfeiters to advertise fake goods on all the popular search engines, but that doesn’t mean the fakers don’t try. They are skilled at using the terms that bargain shoppers use when searching for deals like ‘discount’ or ‘cheap’, so be extra vigilant when it comes to checking out sites that advertise using those terms so you get a genuine bargain.
-Other mentions: do some research and see if the site has been mentioned else ware. Especially look to see if it’s associated with a scam.