6 Ways to Stay Away from Fake Merchandise

How to tell if something is fake and how to purchase securely online

Counterfeit goods sales have increased in tandem with the growth of internet shopping. In a recent seven-month period, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the department that oversees imports into the nation, confiscated $1.9 billion in counterfeit products, up from $1.3 billion in the previous full year title loans near me.

According to the CBP, handbags, wallets, apparel, footwear, watches, jewelry, and gadgets, including headphones and smartwatches, were among the most frequently confiscated goods. Pandemic-related items including face masks, COVID-19 test kits, and hand sanitizer were among the counterfeits discovered. Many counterfeits are offered online, but they may also be found at flea markets and retail shops.

Counterfeits might be challenging to detect. Worse, some of them, such as electrical items, vehicle components, contact lenses, and cosmetics, might endanger your health. Take these steps to keep yourself safe.

1. Purchase from reliable vendors.

One of my golden principles for every retail transaction is to pay as much attention to who you purchase from as to what you buy. When purchasing brand-name items, go to a well-known national shop. According to the CBP, whether you go with a smaller vendor, such as third-party “marketplace” merchants on Amazon and Walmart, read user reviews and return procedures, and check to see if the product is sent from China or Hong Kong. Nearly 80% of fakes come from China and Hong Kong. Small businesses that promote social networking networks should be avoided at all costs. “That’s where a majority of the fraud happens,” says Saoud Khalifah, CEO of Fakespot, which monitors and identifies fraudulent product evaluations.

2. Make a backup plan

Look for websites that will guarantee the authenticity of a loan product, particularly if you’re purchasing high-end items. eBay’s authentication program, for example, covers a limited number of high-end handbags and watches, as well as specific footwear. The “Authenticity Guarantee” emblem appears on products that pass the examination listings. Also, look at the websites of the brands. Coach, Rolex, and a few more brands publish thorough recommendations or issue their authenticity certifications to assist you in acquiring the real stuff.

3. Recognize warning signs

According to the fraud specialists at Redpoints.com, which helps companies battle counterfeits, very cheap pricing is a major red flag. On the other hand, even marginally reduced costs might indicate that you’re not dealing with a legitimate merchant. Another technique to discover shady listings is to install the Fakespot browser extension for Chrome or Firefox (available at Fakespot.com). You’ll be notified about dubious reviews while purchasing online at Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and other sites, which might help you avoid counterfeits. On Amazon, another browser plugin from ReviewMeta.com does the same function.

4. Make a credit card payment

You may call the card issuer and dispute the charge if you get a counterfeit product or no merchandise at all and the merchant is unresponsive.

5. Examine the merchandise

Look for substandard materials and craftsmanship. If you’re purchasing a new product, be wary of packaging that doesn’t seem to be legitimate or doesn’t have any safety seals. Also, look for strange or off-putting odors. I got a counterfeit bottle of a specific brand of hair spray I was seeking when shopping online a few years back. The scent, distinct from that of the hair salon, was the tip-off.

6. Inform authorities about imposters

If you’ve been duped, contact 800-BE-ALERT or use the CBP’s online reporting system at eallegations.cbp.gov to report it. Stopfakes.gov has further information about avoiding fakes.