5 Top Tips to Avoid Buying Online Fakes
The biggest holiday shopping events of the year – Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year sales – are fast approaching. Every year, shoppers collectively spend over a hundred billion dollars online to take advantage of the amazing deals on offer during this period. However, up to 40% of goods purchased online are counterfeits. So before you whip out your credit card, take a little time to view our five top tips below and avoid buying fakes online this season.
1. If it’s too good to be true…
Retailers and resellers have a certain margin to play with. As such, product prices typically fall inside a narrow range. If your product is being sold well below the prices of other retailers, alarm bells should be ringing inside your head. While heavy discounts will apply, particularly during the holiday shopping events, online retailers are not charities – they need to make a profit from every sale. As such, if their prices seem too good to be true, it’s probably best to steer clear.
2. What do others say?
Check out the reviews and comments from others on dedicated review sites or the actual e-commerce site or marketplace that you are buying from. These are often a good source of information for assessing trustworthiness. Look out for poorly-written content, mentions of inferior quality or performance, suspicious packaging or no customer reviews at all.
Also watch out for fake reviews! A sudden increase in the total number of reviews in a very short time frame can indicate a targeted campaign, and generic and/or photo-less profiles is also dubious. These most honest and insightful review are usually those that award middle-of-the-road ratings.
3. Make sure you’re buying what you think you’re buying
Study images closely to determine whether it looks official. Blurred details, strange locations/backgrounds, opened boxes, missing packaging, dirty products or hidden logos usually indicate that things aren’t legit.
Don’t just rely on looks – take note of the dimension, material and features, among others. Products come in all shapes, sizes, features and functionalities and this is especially true for electronic devices. If you buying a product from a marketplace, find out its model number from the manufacturer or wholesaler’s website and cross-reference it against the item listed.
4. Pay on a secure channel
A genuine e-commerce site usually accepts all major payment cards, so avoid sites that don’t offer you to pay by your regular bank or card provider. Under no circumstances should you make bank or money transfers when making an online purchase.
Always keep a wary eye on payment methods to make sure that everything looks right, for instance look out for the padlock on the omnibar of your browser and always check that the URL of the payment page begins with ‘https’.
5. Verify the seller
Before clicking ‘buy’ on the item in your cart, perform due diligence on the seller first, whether this be an e-commerce site or an online marketplace, because it literally takes just hours to launch an e-commerce portal.
The easiest way to do this is by verifying the contact details and finding a little bit more about them online. Perform a search to see if there are any red flags associated with the seller, visit the website to ensure the seller actually exists, and use an online map to verify the seller’s address and contact details. If there are no details or you discover those provided are bogus, our recommendation is to not purchase anything, even if the site looks attractive.
Holidays are a time to be thankful – not to be defrauded by counterfeiters. So please make sure to follow our tips above to ensure a safe and secure shopping experience.
Hear these top tips from our CEO, Daniel Bennett.
fight the fakes and take a stand
If you have been an unfortunate victim of purchasing counterfeits online and want to take a stand against this unscrupulous industry, join the #ImForReal initiative and help spread the campaign for "A Cleaner Internet. A Better Society.".