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April 26, 2022  |  Education

How to shop on Amazon without being duped

Follow these tips to ensure you’re buying legitimate products

Their huge product selection and convenient shopping experience have made Amazon a retail giant. Unfortunately, along with hundreds of millions of shoppers have come an influx of sketchy sellers offering fake products, but you don’t have to fall victim to these schemes. Before you click “Buy Now,” these simple tips will help you become a savvy Amazon shopper and a satisfied customer. 

What are Amazon dupes?

Dupes is simply another word for fake products. Counterfeit items seem like the real deal until you look a little closer. The Library of Congress estimates that more than $1.7 trillion a year is spent on fake goods in the United States. Although big-name retailers like Amazon have been cracking down on fraudsters and removing pirated items from their inventory, occasionally faux merchandise ends up for sale and is purchased by unsuspecting consumers. 

Why are dupes bad?

Aside from fraudulent items not being authentic or produced by reputable manufacturers, there are numerous issues associated with fakes. Because the problem is so widespread, it has a huge impact on businesses and the overall economy. Companies spend large amounts of money each year on fraud investigations, lost revenue, and replacing duped items. This suppresses economic growth.

Another issue with dupes is quality. A fake handbag may look identical to one produced by a luxury designer, but the material will likely be flimsy and the seams may rip or unravel. You may think you got a deal that’s too good to miss on name-brand earbuds, but the price could indicate counterfeits that deliver subpar sound. 

Additionally, fake goods pose potential safety hazards, as they aren’t made with the same quality materials or strict quality control measures. Duped personal care items and cosmetics may contain contaminants or questionable ingredients that could cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes and irritation. 

What are some products that may be fake on Amazon?

Some items are exceptionally high-risk of being duped, especially those that are trendy, collectible, and easy to pirate. Here’s a closer look at popular items that require a little extra scrutiny when shopping for them on Amazon. 

Fake AirPods  

Poor sound quality, misaligned charging ports on the case, and misplaced indicator lights are sure signs of knockoffs of the popular and pricey AirPods. Before you buy, check for logo and packaging inconsistencies. 

Fake Yeezy

Ye’s collaboration with Adidas has resulted in fashionable sneakers that are all the rage, and counterfeiters have taken notice. Look for uneven stitching, lack of detail on the interior workmanship, and uneven logos that could indicate Yeezy knockoffs. 

Fake makeup

Luxury makeup can be expensive, and unfortunately, it’s easy to fake. High-end, trendy brands like Kylie, Urban Decay, Mac, and Nars are subject to counterfeiting. When serial numbers aren’t provided in a listing, check for logo irregularities that indicate fakes.  

Fake handbags  

Handbags are also prone to counterfeiting. In addition to logo and stitch irregularities, synthetic materials and poor craftsmanship are telltale signs.

Fake Pokemon cards

Pokemon cards have been popular among collectors for decades and are some of the most counterfeited collectible cards. Faded colors, misspellings, and a missing accent over the “e” are all indicators that cards aren’t real. 

Additional fakes

While the above popular products are high on the list of frequently duped items, it’s only a shortlist. Almost any type of desirable product can be faked by scammers. 

  • Clothing by luxury designers
  • Jewelry
  • Watches
  • Computers
  • Smart devices
  • Personal care products

Tips for avoiding counterfeit items

  • Pay attention to customer feedback. Consistent five-star reviews with overly positive wording may indicate that reviewers are fake, random, or were paid for their opinions. 
  • Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. If the cost of an item is out of line with the current retail price, there’s a good chance the listing is a scam. 
  • Watch out for third-party sellers. While many outside retailers use Amazon to boost their businesses, some are fraudulent sellers. Products listed as “Fulfilled by Amazon” are dispatched from one of the company’s warehouses and are more likely to be vetted and safe. 
  • Take note of long shipping times. Although recent supply chain issues have resulted in shipping delays, Amazon and reputable sellers don’t take weeks or months to ship. 
  • Look for the “Just Launched” icon. Some fake sellers avoid being caught by Amazon investigators by opening new accounts, selling quickly, and then closing them after making some fast money. 
  • Follow your intuition. If a listing seems off, it probably is. Odd seller names, incorrect spellings, and poor grammar in listings are red flags.  

FAQ

Q. What are the different types of Amazon sales, and how can I tell the difference?

A. Products available on Amazon fall into three categories: sold and shipped by Amazon, sold by third-party sellers but shipped by Amazon, and sold and shipped by third-party sellers. Items that are sold and shipped by Amazon are part of the company’s inventory, so they’ve been vetted and accepted as authentic. They ship from Amazon warehouses.

Third-party items that are fulfilled by Amazon come from independent sellers that partner with the online retailer. Although they come from outside retailers, they’re also shipped from Amazon warehouses. 

Some third-party items are merely posted on Amazon by independent businesses. When these products are purchased, they ship directly from the sellers. Dupes are most likely to come from this type of seller. 

When shopping on Amazon, the “Ships From, Sold By” information is located on the right side of the screen on each product description page. 

Q. What should I do if I’m duped when shopping on Amazon?

A. Amazon wants to know about fraudulent transactions. To get help for your issue, go to the Help and Customer Service page and find the option that fits your situation under “Report a Security Issue.” Follow the instructions to report the item and transaction details. 

Q. As an Amazon member, how can I protect my personal information?

A. There are several steps you can take to keep your personal information safe so you can shop with confidence on Amazon.

  • Use a secure password for your account, and change it at least once a year.
  • Edit your profile to ensure it’s private. This information is located in your account under “Accounts and Lists.”
  • Don’t share your Amazon account information with others.
  • Occasionally clear your browsing history or turn it off altogether. This can be accomplished by clicking on “Manage History” under “Browsing History.” 
  • Be aware of scams via email, text, or phone. These include requests for payments of items you didn’t purchase or for access to personal or financial information. 


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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.