7 Counterfeiting Signs to Monitor

From sought-after luxury handbags to the latest electrical hairstyling tools, counterfeit sales represent an ever-increasing proportion of international merchandise trade, with even the most experienced shoppers being fooled by rogue sites selling counterfeit goods.

The vast majority of consumers today are aware of the issue of counterfeiting. In fact, 90% of respondents to a PwC survey on counterfeiting said they feel that the practice is morally wrong, yet counterfeit sales still represent 7% of all global trade.

Here are seven signs for brand owners to look out for.

Price: Counterfeiters are wising up and realizing that sometimes it can be more convincing if an item is not heavily reduced.

The website itself: Although some websites look professional at first glance, counterfeiters aren’t always so careful on the ‘about us’ or ‘FAQ’ page.

Secure payment: Any time someone is asked for login details, or encouraged to enter credit card details, the page should be protected by a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection. A padlock icon will appear in the address bar when the SSL connection is active. In some browsers the address may begin with https://, which also indicates a secure site.

Return and privacy policies: These should be clear if it’s a reputable site. A bona fide seller should provide an option of how to cancel orders and where to return goods. Counterfeiters won’t usually invest the time to craft a clear, strong privacy policy.

Check the web address: Impersonation of a brand’s website and cybersquatting are on the rise. If the address begins with https://, the ‘s’ signifies it’s a secure site. Some of the big brands have dedicated pages on their websites so consumers can check whether a seller is authorised.

Don’t discount social media: While online retailers are expanding their markets through the use of these digital channels, ‘brand jackers’ and counterfeiters are also taking advantage of them by impersonating brands in social media. The reach, transparency and viral nature of social media make it ideal for counterfeiters to exploit a brand and this has also been reflected in the world of mobile apps, with counterfeiters mirroring a brand’s apps to take advantage of the unsuspecting consumer.