Home » Spotting online fake products is about to get easier

Spotting online fake products is about to get easier

by Kurt Knutsson

Amazon’s VP says in a blog post that “throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen increased attempts by bad actors to commit fraud and offer counterfeit products,” says Dharmesh Mehta.

Amazon itself reported that in 2020 is seized and destroyed 2 million fake products and shutdown more than 10 billion bad listings preventing them from publishing on Amazon.

Amazon, Etsy and eBay are loaded with fake merchandise. It’s a never ending battle to control counterfeit products.

The U.S. House of Representatives is working on an online retail bill designed to curb fakes, counterfeits, and reselling of stolen goods.

Gaining bipartisan support, the INFORM Act would seek to protect consumers by forcing retail sites including Amazon, eBay and Etsy into collecting and verifying the identification of vendors with at least 200 sales in a year totaling $5K or more.

The bill if successful would also force the same online retail marketplaces to share contact information of sellers who are doing more than $20K annually in sales.


Why it matters

Online consumers would get added protections and have the ability to hold sellers accountable when products bought turn out to be fake or stolen. Until it becomes law, there are some tools you can use to protect yourself from online shopping scams.


What you can do to protect yourself from online fakes

FakeSpot.com is one of the best ways to put an online product listing through a test to see if earns a passing or failing grade.

FakeSpot says as much as 39% of online reviews and recommendations are fake.

Using a sophisticated algorithm that FakeSpot says can identify patterns of deception in product reviews is free to access.

Fakespot Analyzer

How to check a product listing on FakeSpot

  1. Copy the Amazon, Walmart, Sephora or BestBuy product link from the web address field on your browser by highlighting all of the text in the web address field.
  2. Go to the FakeSpot Analyzer website here https://www.fakespot.com/analyzer
  3. Paste the product link web address into the Alalyze a URL field and tap Analyze

No need to download anything. I’m not a big fan of using lots of browser add-ons that FakeSpot will try to steer you toward. It’s up to you, but I like to just use the simple web link to FakeSpot analyzer.

There are also some other clever ways to spot potential product fakes online but will take little more elbow grease and time.


How to give product listings the truth or fake test

  1. Check for social media, websites and find contact info.  Do a quick background check on the company from a product listing.
  2. Research the brand. Find out how long has it been in business and other products it sells.
  3. Use Google Maps to find company address. You can use street view feature to look around at ground level at the address to see if you recognize a healthy looking company with the same name there or if instead its a mailbox service.
  4. Do the math. If you see hundreds or thousands of reviews for a product that recently launched, chances are there are fake reviews.
  5. Make sure you have refund protection from the online marketplace like Amazon where you are buying an unknown product.

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