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Watch for counterfeit items when holiday shopping online, BBB warns

File photo. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane) (Jenny Kane)

According to an analysis of online purchase scam reports submitted to BBB Scam Tracker, more than 400 different types of products were used by scammers to perpetrate fraud, including counterfeit products.

Scammers may capitalize on what people are looking for online, paying close attention to the most sought-after gifts such as electronics, toys, and other trendy gift items. Footwear and apparel were the most common counterfeit product types, with Nike the most impostered brand.

Other top brands that scammers focus on, according to BBB research, include NFL clothing, Apple gadgets, Louis Vuitton handbags, Tiffany jewelry, LEGO toys, and 3M N95 masks.

Other items that scammers promote include luggage, collectibles, and medical/nutrition products. BBBs analysis also shows that pets and pet supplies are the riskiest online purchase scams, with 70% of people losing money, and a median dollar loss of $750. The French bulldog was the top breed used to perpetuate puppy scams.

Product categoryTop Brands
ShoesNike, Adidas, Louboutin
ClothesNFL, North Face, NBA, Canada Goose, Nike
GadgetsApple, Samsung, Beats, Sony
HandbagsLouis Vuitton, Gucci, Coach, Chanel, Prada
JewelryTiffany, Cartier, Chanel, Kendra Scott, Pandora
ToysLEGO, Pokemon, Funko, MGA LOL
N95 Masks3M

BBB offers the following tips on how to identify a potential online shopping scam:

  • Watch for low-priced or mid-priced items, usually in the hundreds of dollar range for an item that is typically offered at a much higher price at a retailer.
  • Consumers expect quality from things like shoes, clothing, and jewelry. If an online search for these items comes up with a range of items between $100 to $300 and associated with a name brand or a popular luxury item versus a search using a designer name and presents a much higher priced result, chances are it is probably not the real product.
  • Read the website and look for grammatical errors. Typographical errors indicate the site was more than likely put together quickly.
  • Search for contact information. Search for a phone, email address, online chat function, and check to see if there is a brick-and-mortar address for the business.
  • Check BBB. If a business displays a BBB Accredited Business seal, verify its legitimacy by going to BBB.org and looking up the company.

To check the reliability of a company, visit BBB.org. To report a scam, visit BBB.org/ScamTracker.

Find more online holiday shopping tips from BBB at bbb.org/holiday.

The Better Business Bureau scam tracker found 400 different types of products scammers are using to rip people off.