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Detect fraudulent fake stores

Detect fake shops

Anyone can fall for fake stores! Here are the most important tips on how to recognize fake stores. Check these features before you buy from online stores you don't know!

There are a lot of online stores selling designer and luxury brands on the Internet. But how can you distinguish which store is trustworthy and where it is a fraudulent fake store?
Here you will find a checklist with the most important tips and features that you can use to unmask fraudulent stores.

What is a fake store?

Fake stores are fraudulent online stores that give the buyer the impression that they are selling original products. However, after paying the purchase price, the stores do not deliver the ordered goods, or deliver them in inferior quality as a fake. A scam store looks to the untrained user like a real brand store. Therefore, here we explain the most important features of how to unmask a fake store.

How do I recognize fake stores?

In order to recognize fake stores, you should check several identifying features. The more features you cannot find in the store, the higher the probability that it is a fake store.

1) Web address/URL of the fake store


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Many dubious stores have words like "sale", "outlet" or "cheap" in the web address (URL) of the website. Very often, these terms are also included in the URL in combination with the name of the trademark owner.

  • Outlet (e.g. "„)
  • cheap (e.g. "")
  • sale (e.g. "")
  • Deutschlad (e.g. "")
Detect URL from Fake Shop

Fake stores often also use web addresses (URLs) that have nothing to do with the products they sell. (e.g. under "" Nike and Adidas sporting goods are sold".

If the online store you visit shows these features, then be careful.

2) Check prices


Be suspicious if in an online store the prices of branded products are significantly cheaper than in online stores you are familiar with. Of course, there are reputable web stores that offer branded goods at discount prices. However, if all branded products in a store are 30-70% below the supplier's recommended price, then it is an indication of fraudulent stores

3) Check payment methods

Fake stores payment methods credit card and Western Union

Fake stores usually only offer payment methods where the scammers receive the money immediately and reversal is impossible or difficult. So be careful when exclusively one of these payment methods is offered:

  • Credit card
  • Western Union
  • MoneyGram

So make sure to use secure payment methods:

  • Paypal
  • Instant bank transfer


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Note here that not only the logo of e.g. Paypal is displayed on the store page, but that you can also select the payment method in the checkout itself.

4) Check imprint and contact details

A reputable online store should always provide the full address of the store operator. For foreign stores, look in the "Terms & Conditions" or "About us". Here you should also find a phone number and an email address where you can reach the store. If this is missing, you should become very suspicious.

5) Trust seal for fake stores

Detect fake stores through security seals

Some fraudulent stores unjustifiably include trust seals on their website. If an online store advertises with security seals such as "Trusted Shop", "TÜV" or "eKomi", then check if the seal is really authorized on the store. To do this, click on the seal. You must then be redirected to the seal provider's website, where you can find more information about the online store. If the trust seal is not linked, be careful.

Related links

Videos on the topic

An interesting NDR report on the topic "The counterfeiters: Billion dollar business with fakes from China". The report used practical examples to show how unsuspecting consumers fall victim to fraudsters and shop in fake stores. It gives insights into how customs work, how the fraudsters are organized and researches undercover in China.

Tips to recognize dubious online stores


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