How Consumers Can Fend Off Fakes and Frauds This Halloween
Hollywood didn’t disappoint this year, delivering hit movies like Beauty and the Beast - the highest grossing movie this year at more than $504 million in ticket sales - Wonder Woman, Star Wars: Episode VII and most recently, It.
With such iconic and in-demand characters, costumes are bound to surge in price. And, according to the National Retail Federation, Halloween spending will hit a record $9.1 billion this year. Sounds crazy, but take a look at this adult Wonder Woman costume found on Spirit’s website for more than $300. Even more shocking, is this Stormtrooper costume for nearly $900.
Many shoppers may have sticker shock when looking for their costumes and rush to find cheaper alternatives for their Halloween needs this year, but they should be extremely careful when browsing online. From novelty contact lenses to highly flammable costumes, it’s important to be wary of online purchases that could lead to lasting and painful physical damage.
MarkMonitor, the world’s leading brand protection firm that specializes in counterfeit protection, recommends the following in safely purchasing Halloween goods while shopping online:
- Search Terms – It may sound simple, but be wary of using terms like ‘cheap’ or ‘discount.’ Counterfeiters take advantage of bargain hunters using these terms to steer traffic to their sites.
- Prices – You know the rule. If the price look too good to be true, it probably is. Heavily reduced prices are a huge red flag so consumers should be extra vigilant when searching for cheaper alternatives.
- Details – Some sites look really professional at first glance, but scammers aren’t always so careful about the “About” page, or a “FAQ” page. Also check the spelling of the website’s URL – often times fraudsters will purchase domain names that have slight misspellings of a brand name to trick customers in a technique known as “typosquatting.
- Return Policies – Make sure you can find one somewhere. Reputable sites always spell out return policies for you up front and shouldn’t be difficult to find.
- Reputation – Always check the reviews. Is the site or seller mentioned on any of the scam warning sites? Do a search for ‘vendor+scam’ and see what comes up.