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Trading Standards

Beware of fake websites

A guide on fake websites and how to spot them.

Beware of fake websites this Christmas warns trading standards

East Renfrewshire Trading Standards are concerned that consumers may be duped into buying counterfeit Christmas presents from either fake sites online or through social networking sites. These goods will  be substandard and poor quality and may even be dangerous

Impressive online "shops", claiming to be UK based are selling products directly to consumers at discounted prices. Often these are run by scammers based in Asia and the counterfeit goods supplied are shoddy and pale imitations of the genuine product.    Another scenario is UK-based individuals selling fakes face-to-face after advertising their wares through social media.  As a consumer, you are entitled to expect that the goods you buy from the internet are of the same quality as those in the shops and are the named brand.

Eleanor Griffiths from Prevention Services has given some top tips to look out for before you buy your Christmas presents online:

  • Just because the website address ends in .co.uk  does not mean it is based in the UK.
  • Check the 'contact us 'page.  It there is only an email address or an online form then don't buy.
  • Beware of traders who use a PO Box as an address, the trader could be based anywhere.
  • When you visit a retailer's website enter the address manually - never follow an email link.
  • This link may take you to a fake website where scammers can retrieve your bank details once entered.
  • Stick to trusted companies.
  • Use a credit card as you have the added protection of making a claim against your credit card company for non-delivery of goods or fraud.
  • Check the website is secure - look for a padlock at the bottom right of the browser window

How to spot fake goods offered for sale

As well as advice shown above, shoppers should be aware of signs that a site may selling counterfeit goods:

  • Look for grammar and spelling errors on the websites. Be suspicious of deeply discounted prices. If it sounds too good to be true...then it probably is!
  • Find where the domain is registered. Copy and paste the web address onto the following web address to check where the lender is really located http://whois.domaintools.com/ - if their address has been omitted/withheld be suspicious.
  • Be wary if asked to send a payment abroad by any money transfer system.
  • Research the website you are considering using - look at online forums for any adverse information. Fraudsters can push a fake web site high up on web search lists.
  • Remember, if you order online from an illegitimate website, it might be very difficult to make returns, especially if there is no publicised address or the website is registered outside Europe.

Environment Convener: report fake websites

Environment Convener Cllr Waters reminds consumers that in order to Keep East Renfrewshire vibrant business community that consumers can help by reporting the fakes as this is the only way to stop the scammers.

Stop the scammers - Report Fakes

Should you unfortunately purchase counterfeit goods and need to contact Trading Standards for assistance, please do so:

Email: tradingstandards@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk
Tel: 0141 577 3782

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