Like the winter flurries the season brings, our shopping habits can also seem like a ‘flurry’ of activity.
We plan, we search, we order, and send in the hopes everything will be perfect come Christmas morning. However, when shopping for the perfect gift, especially when it comes to online purchases, it’s a good idea to slow down and make sure you’re getting the real deal and not a cheap version or knockoff.
“There are many fraudulent websites out there selling knockoffs of just about everything you can think of,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “If it can be replicated for money, it will be.”
Recently, a local consumer reported on BBB Scam Tracker that they were concerned about a website selling famous Canada Goose brand winter jackets and parkas. Lo and behold the price was simply – Too Good to Be True. Canada Goose brand parkas can sell for over one thousand dollars. This particular site was selling them for $250. Big. Red. Flag.
The concern, of course, does not stop at the price. The counterfeit website is a clear rip-off of the original brand:
The imposter: www.canadangoose.com
The real deal: www.canadagoose.com
Notice the difference? This is the problem we find with fake websites. A slight change in the URL is enough so that a consumer who isn’t being careful can quickly get caught buying and receiving counterfeit items, that is if the website delivers at all. The other concerning aspect of the fake site is that it was encrypted, meaning it still had https:// in the URL. This can be misleading for consumers. Canada Goose is active in targeting counterfeit sellers and the imposter website has since been taken down.
Things to look for if you think the website you are on is not the real deal:
* Firstly, look for the legitimate website and don’t rely on a simple Google search to find an item. Clicking on anything that says Canada Goose jackets (or other brands) may take you to the wrong site or a reseller with a poor transaction record.
* Look for https:// in the URL. Normally, this is the sign of a legit website.
* Look closely for spelling errors in the URL. The above links are a perfect example.
* Logos and branding may look blurry and poorly reproduced.
* Ask yourself: Is the price too good to be true? Is it realistic to expect a website to offer unusually large discounts?
* Links and social media that go nowhere. We see many websites that look really good, but lack working links to things such as terms and conditions and social media. Often, if the social media does have a link, there is very little activity on the social media platform.
* Lack of contact information. Often fake sites only allow you to email them. No phone number, no live chat, no address.