One in four people buy something online that turns out to be counterfeit


An investigative study by the Better Business Bureau finds that fraudulent consumer goods are difficult to tell apart from the legitimate products they are counterfeiting.

Research shows that eight in 10 Americans shop online, and the dominance of online retail means nearly anything can be bought online and may be counterfeited.

“Basically, nothing’s exempt. Anything that has a brand attached to it is susceptible to being counterfeited online,” Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau said. “A lot of times we think of the nicer high-end purses and handbags, but it’s anything from sunglasses to golf clubs or anything like that.”

Research shows one in four people have bought something online that turned out to be counterfeit without even knowing it.

“They make the websites look pretty good, and then a lot of times good pictures of these items that are actually not counterfeit are the pictures that they’re using and then the products you get in the mail is a little bit different,” Babin explained.

So what are the specifics to look out for when it comes to counterfeit products online?

The BBB says:

  • Almost 90 percent of counterfeit goods come from China and Hong Kong.  
  • Also, check the privacy policy and the way things are worded.

“Every year, this is on the rise which is one of the things that makes it newer and people that might think they wouldn’t fall subject to this probably can because it is actually on the rise,” said Babin.

One government estimate is that counterfeit good sales cost the U.S. economy between $200 -$250 billion every year.

Here are some tips on purchased counterfeit goods: 

  • Ask for a refund. Experts say if you used a credit card, ask your credit card processor for your money back.
  • Report the counterfeit products through the marketplace you purchased them from, whether it be eBay, Amazon etc.
  • Report it to the BBB, FTC or FBI.

According to CNN, last month, President Trump signed a memorandum aimed at stopping counterfeit goods.

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