Are you buying the real thing?

Find out if you know how to distinguish a genuine product from a cheap knockoff

Money (November 26, 2019)


It’s time to hit the mall or log in to your favorite shopping portal to show the people in your life that you care. But is that perfect gift safe?

iPhone charger
Photo: Marianne Wait

Question 1 of 10 Score: 0

How exactly can a counterfeit product, such as a phone charger, harm you?

In 2016, UL performed a study of counterfeit phone adapters and found a 99% failure rate for a test that gauged the product’s ability to prevent electric shock. If a charger like this were plugged in, it could potentially cause a fire.

Photo: Marianne Wait

Question 2 of 10 Score: 0

Which one of the below answers is not a way to tell whether a product is a counterfeit?

If a low price is too good to believe, it could be an indicator that the product is a counterfeit. Likewise, issues with the packaging and labeling, such as missing or misspelled words, poor quality or out-of-date product codes, could signify the product is a counterfeit.

online black friday

Question 3 of 10 Score: 0

Shopping online can be convenient. But how can you tell if a sales site is legit? Which of the following three options is not something you should be suspicious of?

Knowing whether or not a site is legitimate can help deter buying counterfeit products. An email not using the website’s or store’s name can hint that the owner is not committed to the site and it might be a scam.

online shopping

Question 4 of 10 Score: 0

What is the safest way to shop online?

A one-time-use credit card is offered by many credit card companies for customers that want to make online purchases. Using a credit card can prevent people from causing damage to your bank account and increases your chance of getting your money back if your information is stolen.

Paying money

Question 5 of 10 Score: 0

Let’s say you’re shopping in person and you get a piece of currency you might not think is real. What’s a quick way to check?

You can find a watermark on a bill by holding it up to the light. You should be able to see the watermark on both sides of the bill, on the far right on the front and the far left on the back.

counterfeit dollar

Question 6 of 10 Score: 0

If you have a counterfeit bill, what should you do?

The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends contacting the police or your local Secret Service office, write your initials and date on the bill, put the bill into a plastic bag or envelope, and then give the bill to the officer or agent.

receiving a package

Question 7 of 10 Score: 0

Certain keywords can be a hint that a product isn’t legitimate. What are they?

If someone is trying to defends their legitimacy over and over again, most likely what they are selling is a fake.

electronic payment

Question 8 of 10 Score: 0

When in doubt, you should…

If you know who the seller is, you greatly reduce the chances of buying a counterfeit.

cosmetic shopping

Question 9 of 10 Score: 0

Besides subpar quality and safety, what’s another reason to avoid purchasing counterfeit products?

Sharing your information on the internet is risky. Buy from sellers you can trust.


Question 10 of 10 Score: 0

What’s another way to tell if a product is a counterfeit?

Counterfeiters typically don’t put much work into proper labeling and safety certification marks, so check for issues with any marks on packaging or the products themselves.


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