10 Ways to Spot Counterfeits on the Internet

Though having traditionally targeted the luxury market, counterfeit products have now touched all consumer products: medicine, cosmetics, children’s toys, medications with improper dosage or without market authorization, automobile parts outside of manufacturers’ safety standards…counterfeits, easily accessible thanks to online commerce, may pose health or security risks to consumers, exposing them to heavy penal sanctions in all EU countries.

The European Consumer Centre Slovakia (ECC) receives daily complaints from consumers who, either consciously or not, purchased counterfeit items, or never received products blocked by customs. To help consumers avoiding falling in the trap, the European Consumer Centre Network now published a report on counterfeiting on online consumer rights in Europe.

10 Ways to Spot Counterfeits on the Internet

  1. Beware of descriptions under the web address in the search engine: if they include product names followed by phrases such as “cheap” or “free shipping”, they are often fraudulent sites.

  2. Verify the identity and the vendor’s contact information under the “legal information” tab on the vendor’s website and compare it with the site’s registration on WHOIS, DENIC, AFNIC….

  3. Consult consumer reviews written about the vendor.

  4. Verify the authenticity of the trust label, which can be displayed by consulting the label’s website.

  5. Check to see if the brand took inventory of a list of official vendors, or if they denounced any counterfeit sites.

  6. Compare prices with the official store.  Do not trust sites that offer extremely attractive offers on the internet.

  7. Compare the official logo with the one posted on the questionable site or on the item to be sold.

  8. Consult the general sale conditions and verify respect of consumer rights.

  9. Beware of sites with poor design, sites written in broken French, or sites displaying poor quality images.

  10. Secure your payment. Always give preference to revocable methods of payment. Avoid money transfers by money order, by cash transfer, or even by bank transfer.

If you are already in possession of counterfeit items:

  • Check with your bank and card issuer for any guarantees you may benefit from to demand the reimbursement of your request or operate a charge back.

  • If the fraud is recognized, report the necessary information to the Financial Administration Slovak Republic

  • Contact the official brand and inform them of the counterfeit products; holding patent rights, they may turn against such fraudulent sites

  • If you are a victim of counterfeit activity, you may file a police report, seize customs, or seek assistance from law enforcement services in your area.

For more information, contact us or read information booklet Should you buy counterfeit goods?


ECC’s missions are to inform and help consumers resolve their cross-border consumer disputes amicably. The ECC does not retain any judicial or sanctioning powers and cannot intervene in cases related to counterfeits.