Luxury Brands Fight Online Counterfeiters
If some shifty looking guy on the street offers to sell you a Rolex watch for $5, can you be sure that he’s dealing in bogus goods but what about a luxury site offering famous name timepieces at huge discounts complete with authentic looking photos and promises of documentation?
As more of us feel comfortable shopping online, more opportunities are created for counterfeiters and other crooks that want to sell you fake items. The rise of social media as a shopping vehicle has made this problem even worse as the criminals find new marks to target. Now the makers of legit luxury products are turning to anti-counterfeit technology providers to search out the con artists.
One of those providers is MarkMonitor, owned by Thompson Reuters. The company’s senior vice president Charlie Abrahams told Bloomberg how the willingness of shoppers to purchase luxury items online has contributed to the increase in counterfeiting. “The Internet has become a place where people will buy 5,000-pound (S$10,647) watches and 2,000-pound (S$4,259) handbags,” he said. “The challenge is, on the Internet, it’s very difficult for the consumer to tell if they’re buying the real thing.”
As the makers of luxury products find new ways to fight the sellers of fake goods, the counterfeiters have upped their game by producing higher quality items and charging more realistic prices for them. Louise Nash of the law firm Covington & Burling LLP in London voiced the changing face of counterfeiting: “A 50-buck Louis Vuitton handbag used to be the poster child for counterfeit goods. In the past few years, pirates have realized they can make thousands of bucks a pop producing something close to a Mulberry bag.”
While it’s good to know that the makers of luxury goods are spending time and money to protect their brands and guard customers against being cheated by the purveyors of fake items, it’s still up to the individual shopper to use caution when buying online. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.