Fake and counterfeit products are all over the market. Some people can’t just find other ways to earn money – that is why they resort to faking products. Thinking that this issue is not that serious is actually stupid. Why? Because last 2017, the Bureau of Customs (BoC) seized P300-million worth of counterfeit and smuggled products.
So, if you are buying something, either physical or online, you should be wary and you should always double check.
What are the products that are counterfeited?
A wide variety of products in the market are in the risk of being fake. Last 2017, a food seasoning, bath soaps, cigarettes, and other household items are among the P300-million worth that the BoC seized in different warehouses.
Fake cigarettes, as per previous researches and tests, were made with disgusting and poor-quality materials. Some of which might contain metals, harmful chemicals, tea leaves, even rat droppings.
The question of you avoiding and spotting fake products can be tough. However, if you know how to distinguish them, then you might just be saving yourself. There are a few ways on how you can see them; they would depend on the item, of course.
How can I stay safe from buying fake products?
First and foremost, you should know who are dealing with. If the source you are getting it from is not known, do your research. Try Googling the name of the person or the institution selling them — you might find relevant and helpful results.
Trust your gut
Your gut can make or break the situation — without it, you could be in a heap of trouble. Be sure to trust your feelings and instincts; some offers are really too good to be true. Why? Because genuine products are rarely discounted — that’s why they’re expensive.
Check the source
Knowing where you are getting it from is one of the key things that you should always do. If you find and feel something fishy about a certain business or person, do research — it’s essential.
Try and Google the business or the institution you are getting it from and you might see relevant results.
Spelling and Grammar
Some fraudsters miss to indicate the correct spelling of items on the items themselves. As a matter of fact, this is where most fraudsters fail. Be sure to check the spelling of a certain brand or the company logo/name.
If you do online shopping, however, it might be difficult for you to perform a legitimate check on the item you are intending to buy. In this case, what you can do and look for is the grammar and the spelling on the page.
Most of the time, fraudsters don’t pay attention to these details — this is one reason why they get busted as fake.
Check the website of the product
Some brands and companies give a heads up to consumers. Take Nestle PH for example, on October 24, 2013, they released an advise telling all consumers that there were fake and counterfeit MAGGI MAGIC SARAP circulating in the market.
So, try checking if the company released statements or advisories that pertain to your dilemma — maybe they can help.
Check the ICC stickers
Just recently, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) released statements about them innovating on new ICC stickers that can help consumers identify genuine products from fake ones.
By knowing the legitimate ICC stickers issued by the agency, especially if you are purchasing an imported item, you can save yourself from being scammed.
The packaging and parts
Most fake and counterfeit products don’t really invest much on their packaging. Notice how a certain product is packaged. More so, if you have a chance to dig through the product, have a look on the materials that were used.
Some fraudsters invest heavily on the exterior of certain products to make it seem like their products are genuine. So, be sure to check on both the packaging and the parts or equipment used to build the product.
Checking on serial numbers is good. As a matter of fact, this has been the bread and butter of checking a legitimacy of an item. However, in our generation, fraudsters are able to imitate serial numbers, too.
Therefore, presence of a serial number no longer guarantee the authenticity of a product anymore. If there are other stocks of the same product, try and check their serial numbers if they are, in any way, matching. If not, then you might want to back off.
Check the sellers
If you purchase online, there’s a chance that you will be interacting with a seller. If a certain seller seems suspicious, try to run a search on them right away.
Legitimate sellers would ALWAYS understand that you have doubts with products. Why? Because they know and understand that there are millions of fraudsters out there. Furthermore, they’re not after fast sales so they’re just cool if you tell them that you want to do a fact check on their product/s first.
However, sellers who seem agitated when you tell them that you want to search about their product first are already suspicious. Always remember that legitimate sellers need not to sell immediately because if they’re genuine, they would have a lot of clients salivating for their products.
Most online products will have reviews: it could either be to the product or to the seller of the product. Experienced online buyers would ALWAYS leave feedback from the service they received from the seller to the product itself.
Always try and check on reviews. Though, you need to be careful because fraudsters have this covered as well. They have bots or trolls which they control in order to make their products or themselves more popular.
You can check a certain user who left comments or feedback by checking on the profile of that specific user.
It will all boil down to your choice of checking and effort in looking for authenticity in a product. Sellers will understand this because they know how the market is right now — don’t be afraid to ask and don’t be afraid to do necessary research about a certain product, site, or seller.
Be careful in purchasing fake and counterfeit products because they might just not be good for you, but for thousands of people around you. Always remember that fake products can cause problems and accidents like fires, floods, and other dangers.
We all need to buy products online — now, are you ready to take on the challenge to see if the products you will be purchasing are legitimate and genuine? Stay safe from buying fake products online and spread the word, too!