RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – If you’re looking for deals during the holiday season, be careful as some fake websites claim to have deals on hard-to-get items.
With a few clicks, you can buy just about anything online. This is what crooks rely on when they set up fake websites, which are not mom-and-pop operations.
“Global counterfeiting is estimated at $ 1.8 trillion per year,” said Yoav Keren, CEO of BrandShield.
Keren said many of these trademark counterfeiters are crooks who are part of large criminal networks.
This year, the shortage of goods caused by supply chain issues has played into the hands of criminals who use many means to lure you to their bogus websites and bogus offers.
“Social media has become a major funnel in luring people to various scam websites and other activities,” Keren said.
There are several tips to help you avoid a fake website. To look for:
- Incorrect spelling of a brand name in the URL
- Typos or grammatical errors in the copy
- Social media posts directing you to a certain website for offers
The most counterfeit items this year include electronics, games, fashion, and merchandise.
Brandshield found that PlayStation and Nike were popular brands targeted by imposters, with suspicious domain registrations for PlayStation increasing by 127% and Nike by 88%.
Counterfeit Airpods sites increased 81%.
Luxury goods have also seen a dramatic increase, with a significant increase in registrations of suspicious areas linked to Louis Vuitton and Gucci.
Big box retailers have also been hit by scammers. Brandshield found bogus target sites exceeding Walmart in suspicious domain registrations over 50 to 1.
The eBay electronic marketplace has seen fake sites increase 155% and Amazon has seen a 16% increase in fake sites online.
Sometimes the crooks will send you a poorly made copy of a branded item you bought, other times you won’t get anything from them and just lose your money.
“If you see an ad that interests you, always watch where it takes you,” Keren said. “Does this go back to the original website?” “
He said you should check back on that brand’s website without going through the ad that directed you there. This will ensure that you get the same deal. Otherwise, it is a scam.
Brandshield said it detects hundreds of bogus websites per month.
“We can detect these items very quickly, sometimes within minutes of their creation, and remove them very quickly,” Keren said.
However, as soon as they are taken out, he said, other fakes appear to replace them.
If you come across a fake website, you can also report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaints Center.