Online Holiday Shopping: Don’t get Duped

How to avoid counterfeits while online shopping this holiday.

How to avoid counterfeits while online shopping this holiday.

It’s that time of the year again – the holidays are here. And that means dinner parties, long lost relatives, and shopping. Shopping, shopping and more shopping. Americans spent more than $3 billion on Cyber Monday this year making it the most online sales in one day ever recorded in the US. Experts attribute the high numbers to better discounts. But make sure you do your homework before you buy.

Counterfeit goods can appear on standalone websites, auction sites, and even some trusted resellers’ websites. So it’s important for brand owners and consumers to study up and take action to protect themselves from the counterfeits out there.

Only buy from authorized online retailers that you trust. You can usually find a list of authorized resellers on a brand’s website. And make sure the website you’re purchasing from is secure. Websites that begin with https://, “s” as in secure, and ones that have a lock symbol next to the web address are safe to use.

Always use a credit card rather than a debit card when shopping online. This ensures your money is protected. So if a fraudulent good is purchased, you can dispute the charges.

Keep an eye out for omitted sales tax. Counterfeiters are often trading on the black market and therefore don’t pay government taxes.

Where is the item coming from? If you are suspicious of the origin, don’t order the product. Usually your instincts are right, these are probably counterfeits.

Check the spelling of the retailers web address. You would be surprised how many counterfeiters use the brand name in their URL with slight misspellings.

Check sellers’ ratings on auction sites and at big box store sites like Amazon. Typically, there are poor buyer ratings for fraudulent sellers. So make sure to do a little bit of research before making your purchase.

Bottom line, if it seems too good to be true, it most likely is. An outrageously discounted product is a huge red flag that screams, “I’m a fake!”

Any questions? The intellectual property experts at Marksmen are available to help with everything from trademark use investigations in the United States to anti-counterfeiting in China and domain name acquisitions around the globe. Marksmen investigates, patrols and negotiates IP rights worldwide.