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Just how big is the fake online store problem?

Over the last few months, many websites and platforms have given attention to the seemingly increasing problem of fake online stores. Our own blog included. These online shops sell counterfeit products, or try to trick people into handing over their credit card information and login credentials. Falling for these criminal tricks can, of course, be a real hassle for people. But how big is the problem really? That’s what we set to find out.

First of all, the percentage of counterfeit websites per country varies greatly. When we look at China we see that 43 percent of all eCommerce websites is a counterfeit shop. In Italy, the online stores are fraudulent 20 percent of the time and in Germany we see that 17 percent of online stores is a shopping scam. On the other side of the spectrum there is Slovakia, where only 1 percent of online stores is in the hands of criminals. Other countries where the risk of landing a fake online store is low are Hungary and Brazil, they only have 2 percent of eCommerce stores marked as counterfeit*.

The point of these fake online stores is, of course, to try and trick as many people as possible into using their website. That is why these counterfeit platforms prefer to focus on selling big brands — the ones that everyone wants to have. They also appear to have a love for apparel and sneakers. The most sold brands on these counterfeit websites are Nike with 13% presence, Adidas that can be seen on 8% of all fake stores and Puma that was shown in 6% of all cases.

If you are in doubt of whether you are dealing with an online store: they still seem to have the same characteristics that they can be recognised by. Fraudulent online stores often do not use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption on their website, which can be identified by the green lock in your browser. In addition, they frequently lack contact details and offer expensive brand with discounts of 50 percent and even higher. Always keep an eye out for these features to make sure you shop safely.

You may be wondering how we know all this? Only a few months ago we developed a filter based on several variables that we already index, including eCommerce properties and a website’s Trust Score. The combination of these variables in a certain way is a reliable predictor of whether an online store is legit or not — and the perfect tool for this quick study.

The great thing is: you can access that filter too! We have made part of our data accessible to everyone through our Chrome Plugin. You can download it for free and see the Trust Score of the website you visit in an easy browser extension, or even receive sidebar notifications when you visit an online store that is clearly a fake.

Would you like more information on our detection of fraudulent online stores? Contact us via info@dataprovider.com.

* These numbers are an estimate based on our in-house developed Trust Score.