Posted: Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Click on the logo for the specific guide on how to spot a fake, or read the general guide below

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General Guidelines


If the price is too good to be true, it  is!  Start by checking the price against the original manufacturer’s recommended retail price (rrp) on their website or that of the brand’s authorized dealer. If there’s a big difference in price then you can be 99% guaranteed to be purchasing a counterfeit.

Check the Logo

Read the label or logo.  Counterfeiters make spelling mistakes, believe it or not.  They’ve been known to get the typeface wrong or some other detail.  Spot the differences.  If something looks wrong, call the brand’s store or customer service center and ask for advice.


If you’re buying online, figure out who the seller is.  Where is the site located.  Is it China?  Brazil?  India? Get the details of the seller.   If you’re worried, try calling them by phone or check out their address on Google – if they don’t have contact details, how are you going to get your money back if something isn’t right?  Simply, you won’t.,

Smart Shopping on the Internet

Many reputable businesses operate online; known as etailers, they are often recognized by well established brands. These etailers are sometimes authorized resellers of authentic products.

Eighty-five percent of the world’s internet users have purchased something online, according to a study done by The Nielsen Company called “Global Online Survey on Internet Shopping Habits.” In fact, half of all internet users purchased something this month. As an online consumer, you should take certain guildelines into consideration.

General Look and Feel

  • A credible etailer is likely to have a professional looking website.
  • The websites will be easy to use, relatively free of grammatical errors and misspellings, have contact information and help lines – make sure you pay attention.


  • A number of organisations such as BBB (Better Business Bureau), TRUSTe, VeriSign and PayPal provide some sort of verification and security clearance.
  • However these logos can be copied – so be cautious.
  • Be wary of etailers who only accept payment through unsecured email.
  • The best approach is to check the contact information – check that this has been provided by the etailer and use it to see if it works.
  • Also check the address and the email address that the site provides
  • Try calling the number provided to check the quality of the automated phone response; make sure it is working properly and sounds and feels professional.

Internet Privacy Act

  • Many websites that offer illegal items cite a US Internet Privacy Act said to have been signed by Bill Clinton in 1995.
  • The Internet Privacy Act is in fact a hoax and every website quoting this Act which was visited by a consulting firm as part of their research, was found to be involved in some sort of criminal activity.
  • Many countries have privacy Acts in place but these relate to a consumers right to privacy.
  • Most countries require an etailer to disclose its corporate name, address, telephone numbers and email address. If you don’t see these details don’t buy it.


  • Some etailers have direct links to affiliates or other sites that advertise on its site or provide a similar service.
  • Click on these links – are the links to reputable companies and do these companies have links to the site you are on?


In commerce both on and offline, nothing beats a positive reputation. Try to purchase items from vendors which have been recommended to you by reputable sources, like magazines specializing in that type of product, or experts. Also, speak with your friends before purchasing. What etailers do they use? Have they had any negative experiences with certain outlets? Using a search engine is also a quick way to see if an e-tailer has a bad online reputation. More tips on safe online spending can be found in MSN’s “8 Mistakes that Expose you to Online Fraud.”