5 ways to protect yourself from purchasing ‘superfake’ items

 
Credit: Unsplash

Credit: Unsplash

 

Unknowingly purchasing ‘superfake’ products isn’t new news, bootleg items are now made so well it’s impossible to know it’s a counterfeit.

These days ‘superfake’ items are not just dominating sidewalk stalls and flea markets, it has made its way online too. Anyone can create a website and social media accounts and begin selling. And sometimes it’s impossible for a buyer to know it’s a fake, even though it’s being bought at a prominent luxury retail chain.

You’re probably thinking purchasing a fake watch or a handbag doesn’t really hurt anyone, but counterfeiters are also manufacturing medical and pharmaceutical products that can be toxic for your health. Along with that, there are also counterfeited cigarettes and alcohol, clothing, batteries and electronic items that can cause multiple illnesses and harm to you.

Ask yourself:

Are you sure your counterfeited batteries won’t explode while using it?

Is your fake expensive handbag returnable once you’ve discovered its true origins?

Will your counterfeited electronic products overheat and catch fire?

 

Worse, counterfeited items are made in conditions which abuse a range of labor laws, including child labor and serious organized crime gangs monopolize the trade in counterfeit goods.

The bottom line is this, these fraudsters only have one thing in mind – maximizing their profits.

How then, can you protect yourself from becoming a victim of counterfeit and ‘superfake’ products?

 

How to protect yourself:

1. Check the seller’s identity and legitimacy of the website

Always check the identity of the seller’s shop and if they have other online stores or their own website. Verify their contact details, geographical address if they have one or their social media accounts. Many e-commerce websites today have multiple safeguards such as escrow services (e.g.: Shopee Guarantee, 11street escrow service) and the need for authorization before opening a shop on their platform. Ultimately if you smell something fishy or your sixth sense gives off alarm bells, move on to another seller.

 

2. Do research on price and item

When you’re shopping online, communicate with the seller about the details of the product. Do an online search and compare the prices of the same item. If the deal is too good to be true, then it probably is. Also utilize the reviews and ratings section; it might not be 100% foolproof but at the very least it will give you some assurance on the seller and item.

 

3. Check if the retailers/resellers are authorized

Major brands will take the extra step to provide a list of their authorized retailers and resellers. You can check for details in the products’ official website.

 

4. Check for secured means of payment

Make sure the website’s connection is secure. The URL address will begin with a https:// (the ‘S’ means secure) and clicking on the padlock icon will reveal more information of the certificate information and its validity period. Look out for digital certificates like VeriSign or Trust-E to give you peace of mind knowing the data you keyed in is in safe hands.

 

5. Brand protection/Online brand protection

Rest assured many big brands are taking major efforts to fight against fake goods sold online. Nevertheless, it’s your responsibility to check with the brand if there’s a warranty or full return policy if the item you bought is a counterfeit.

Ultimately, there’s no foolproof way to distinguish a genuine and a ‘superfake’ item. Brand owners, retailers and law enforcement agencies are working hard to combat these activities.

“It’s something that will be very difficult to wipe out in its entirety, but we can make a dent,” says EBay’s global corporate affairs and communications manager Ryan Moore.

If you have proof that you have been frauded by e-commerce merchants, you can make a report and seek help at the National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) here.