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Spoofing: What Is It & How Can You Stay Safe While Shopping Designer?

by Richard Zakroff on September 12, 2017

Luxury fashion is one of the most cutthroat industries in the world, with convincing counterfeit products, intellectual property theft, and other illegal enterprises plaguing the market at every turn. Not only do designers compete with others in the industry, they must combat fakes, frauds, and criminals. Now, as consumers turn to favor online shopping, mobile ordering, and social media to get their fashion fix, there’s a new threat to the fashion industry and designer handbag buyers: spoofing.

What Is Spoofing?

Spoofing refers to the practice of scammers using variants of a designer name to create convincing URLs that, at first glance, look like the real thing. These “spoof” sites often look legitimate, but they use a slight misspelling of the name, an extra word, or subtle change in logo that can easily go unnoticed. The spoof sites lure unsuspecting shoppers onto the site, stealing traffic from the legitimate vendors, and then steal the customers’ personal or banking information.

Spoof sites can be designed purely for click fraud, where scammers make money from pay-per-click ad revenue, or they can use it for credit card harvesting. Some spoof sites also appear to sell knockoff handbags, which, of course, never actually make it to the consumer.

How Big Is The Threat?

While designer brand scams are nothing new, the problem has grown exponentially in recent years. Recent studies of eight of the top designers in the industry today reveal that at the very least, there are over 600 imitation sites believed to be fraudulent. This spells out a huge threat to consumers who may not only be unaware of such spoof sites, but struggle to determine how to identify which sites are spoofed.

Luxury fashion houses have expressed hesitation about ecommerce for years, and only recently has it come to be an accepted outlet for buying designer. Designer names like Louis Vuitton and Fendi held onto concerns that offering their products online would devalue the brand, a sentiment that echoed throughout the industry until as recently as 2015. Now, digital sales in fashion continue to increase year after year.

What Is Being Done About It?

Resolving domain name disputes and removing the spoof site is a long bureaucratic process that could take weeks or months to accomplish. Spoofed designer brands have found ways to think ahead of cybersquatting scammers by reserving domains with variations of their brand in an effort to redirect lost traffic to the real site.

What Can I Do?

As a consumer, you can avoid being scammed by spoof sites by being cautious and only buying from trusted sellers. Always check to make sure the site is secure, and pay close attention to any misspellings or extraneous characters in the URL. With luxury item reseller sites like Cash In My Bag, you never have to worry about being spoofed, because our site is secure and it's our guarantee to only offer luxury items that have been authenticated by an expert.

If you have any questions about the Cash In My Bag guarantee of authenticity or site safety, please check out our FAQs here.