Online shopping has grown significantly since the lockdown began in March. Many of us looking to be healthier have made our way to exercise equipment online, and a number of sporting goods retailers have reported booming online sales. John Lewis saw total athletic footwear sales grow 72% while Adidas and Puma saw ecommerce sales grow.
However, shoppers looking for the best deals online need to be careful as many people would be surprised by the size of the fake stores. Every day we find new fake shops designed to lure customers away from real outlets, as many brands have not yet found effective countermeasures.
Counterfeit shoes, clothing and other accessories lose more than 26 billion euros to industry each year in the EU alone, while the loss due to all online counterfeiting is estimated at 323 billion US dollars per year. The OECD estimates that over 3% of all global imports are counterfeit.
Traditionally, counterfeit stores claim to sell luxury consumer goods at heavily discounted prices. We saw fake stores with at least three different models:
- Payment is accepted but no goods will be delivered.
- At the end of the ordering process an error message is displayed, e.g. B. Out of Stock, and no transaction occurs. This is equivalent to a phishing attack because the fake shop has the consumer's credentials.
- Payment is accepted and the goods are delivered. The quality of the goods varies between junk and is the same as the real item.
Trainers are the most counterfeit goods
We are currently blocking around 75,000 fake shops in our extensions and apps. Around half of that target a specific brand like Nike or Adidas. About 70% of counterfeit stores selling branded goods sell shoes, mostly sneakers.
The European customs authorities confirm this and handle more cases of counterfeit sports shoes than any other type of product.
Counterfeit stores by type of goods sold
Eight of the top ten brands we find in fake stores are mainly shoe companies, with Nike and Adidas being by far the most common. Other important targets for counterfeiters are Ray-Ban and Louis Vuitton, both of which are subject to highly specific campaigns.
An Adidas fake shop
How many people visit counterfeit shops?
Fake stores use analytics software to track website visits just like real websites. The fake store analytics dashboards are sometimes publicly available and indicate that fake stores have a lot of visitors.
Unique visitors from a single fake shop campaign
A fake shop campaign attracted 125,000 visitors in May since it launched in December, and has tripled since the lockdown began. A lot of the visitors arrive after they find the websites in their Google search results. However, fake business is also advertised on social media and similar platforms. The stores for this campaign reportedly sell products from a variety of brands, including Skechers, Steve Madden, Ecco, Supreme, and The North Face. Tens of thousands of such businesses are active at any given time.
Visitors come to these sites from all over the world, although 77% are from European countries. The website owners themselves are likely Chinese as they use a Chinese analytics service, although the websites are available in many different languages and currencies.
What can I do to avoid shopping in a fake store?
Our extensions and apps block access to any fake shops that we find and validate. You can use our extension for free and our apps only cost 5 euros per year.
In addition, the products of some high-quality brands such as Rolex, Coach and Louis Vuitton are only available from authorized retailers. For these brands, make sure you look up the retailer you are shopping from on the brand's website.
Look out for suspicious websites when purchasing other products. Some common characteristics of counterfeit stores are:
- Prices too good to be true
- No HTTPS or certificate from a free SSL provider
- Fake security seals and accreditations
- No or implausible contact information
How can I protect our business from counterfeit business?
Netcraft offers a comprehensive countermeasure service that covers the detection and removal of counterfeit deals. In the past three months, we have dismantled more than 25,000 counterfeit stores.
In addition, we can provide a feed of fake shops that are targeted towards your business so that your own apps can block access to fake shops on devices that have your app installed.
Netcraft is the world's largest cybercrime countermeasure company, providing countermeasures against approximately 75 different types of cybercrime for many of the world's largest companies.