Published: September 25, 2023 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.
From smartphones to software to laptops and computers, fake technology products are sold everywhere. Some of the biggest online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay are rife with cheap knockoff technology. This includes other third-party sites too. Knowing the red flags of big-discount prices for technology sold on big platforms and other third-party sources can help consumers stay safe in ways they might not expect.
Fake Tech: Risks and Red Flags
Irresistible prices might depend on the item and the parts inside. Discount laptops, like other low-priced tech, may have counterfeit parts – the reason prices are so low. For example, laptops made with bootleg lithium-ion batteries run risks of extreme heat and some have even exploded during use. Be careful about how you buy the tech item because some banks don’t reimburse purchases you’ve authorized, including for bogus products.
If an incredibly priced item has blurry, bad photos posted, it very well may be intentional. Terrible photos obscure important product details and if you look closely, may even show a different brand product. Fraudsters don’t want consumers seeing the signs of a fake; but you can be sure that bad photos themselves are a huge red flag.
Big savings on apps and other software come with risks of malware infections and other issues, and where you buy yours from makes a difference. Third-party marketplaces don’t always scan apps and other software for malware, but the official App Stores do. As a result, they’re the most trusted sources for apps and the best way to avoid unexpected troubles and regrets.
Preventing Fake Tech Sales
It’s an open secret that bogus tech products are sold online and have been for decades. It’s partly due to online marketplaces, from the little guys to the behemoth Amazon and the like, not vetting tech sellers before making their products available. But recently, the U.S. Congress passed the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act (INFORM Consumers Act). Its aim is for more transparency with online transactions and to “deter criminals from acquiring stolen, counterfeit, or unsafe items and selling them through online marketplaces.”
As consumers, we love getting great deals but hate getting ripped off by them. The best way to guarantee a tech product is the real deal is by buying from well-known, legitimate, trusted sources only. The price tag may not thrill you but in the end, we all hope that paying more for product integrity, performance, and safety counts for something.
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