Beware of Fake Apps this Singles' Day

The Chinese Singles’ Day, also known as Guanggun Jie or Double 11, is the world’s most lucrative shopping event. Singles’ Day, which is a holiday founded in 1993 to celebrate the single people of China, generated revenues in excess of $44 billion in 2018 – larger than the combined revenues of Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Alas, this shopping extravaganza also draws a massive number of counterfeiters with their Singles' Day fakes.

Be wary of counterfeits

Unfortunately, retailers and consumers are not the only ones who look forward to Singles’ Day – counterfeiters will also attempt to profit from the massive surge in sales volume. According to China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), approximately 40% of all goods purchased online in the country are either fake or substandard. 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since almost two-thirds of counterfeit products being sold in the EU originate from China. So, when an opportunity to profit closer to home emerges, counterfeiters will definitely reroute their products and resources to domestic marketplaces.

Faced with this threat, consumers must exercise caution when making purchases during Singles’ Day to ensure they will not be deceived into buying fake goods. They must be extra vigilant about products with too good to be true pricing, features or delivery time.

The threat of counterfeit shopping apps

The threat facing consumers is not limited to just fake products; they are also exposed to the threat of being phished through counterfeit shopping apps.

Fake shopping apps are apps that are designed to imitate legitimate apps of well-known retailers. When customers download such apps and enter their personal login or banking details in them, the criminal organisations running the scheme will receive copies of the information. The information will then be used for a variety of fraudulent and illegal activities.

While fake apps are not a new phenomenon, they are distributed much more aggressively in the weeks leading up to Singles’ Day. In 2018, over 4,000 different counterfeit shopping apps were installed on the devices of more than 300,000 users in China. One popular Chinese online shopping website was the hardest hit as an imitation of the company’s app was downloaded over 170,000 times.

Online retailers will continuously try to improve their anti-counterfeit measures. However, consumers must perform their own due diligence when shopping online to protect themselves.

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