Many scammers use websites like eBay and Amazon for selling counterfeit items. Since online shopping is becoming increasingly popular, consumers need to learn how to avoid buying these items. Keep in mind that no matter what you’re looking to purchase there’s a good chance that there is a fake version of it online. Although you may think this doesn’t apply to cheap and common products, a lot of them aren’t really authentic.

In some cases, you may be able to easily notice whether certain products are fake. However, this usually applies only for cheap items like batteries or T-shirts. People who usually buy them don’t even care that they aren’t authentic since they’re getting them at a cheap price.

Nevertheless, when it comes to products like high-end beauty products, watches, and sneakers, it can be difficult to see whether they’re real. According to a recent report published by the Government Accountability Office, more than 40 percent of products bought on five major e-commerce websites are fake.

The main issue with counterfeit items is that they may hurt you, since they’re made using harmful materials. This is especially the case with beauty products, as they can contain substances like mercury and cyanide. Unfortunately, you can never know what they actually put inside these products just so they cost less to make. When it comes to safety and electrical products, you shouldn’t take any chances. Buy these products only from retailers you know. Despite the fact that websites like Amazon and eBay have strict protocols and prohibit the sale of counterfeit items, many of these products constantly get listed.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development notes global trade in fake goods is worth almost half a trillion dollars per year. This accounts for around 2.5 percent of global imports. With so many fake products being sold every day, it can be hard to spot what’s authentic. However, there are certain things you should pay attention to in order to ensure you don’t get scammed. Of course, the first thing you should look at is the price. In case the product you’re searching for is being sold for just a small fraction of the full price, chances are that it’s fake.

There are also countless websites that offer counterfeit items as well. Before you purchase anything you should always research the website to see whether it can be trusted. Make sure you call their customer service phone number and ask some questions regarding the product. It’s also a good idea to Google the company and see whether they have a strong online presence. Note that most scammers usually shut down their websites shortly after starting them.

If you have the option to buy something directly from the manufacturer, you should do it.

Otherwise, it’s important to learn how to spot fake items by looking at photos. Let’s say you want to buy a luxury watch and find a great deal online. Before putting in your credit card information, it’s recommended you really get familiar with what the watch looks like. For example, if you’re buying a Rolex, you should know that this company only uses platinum, stainless steel and 18k gold to make their products. In case any other type of metal is used or if it has any engraving on the back, it’s a fake Rolex.

Another good strategy for spotting counterfeit products online is to learn how to tell whether the reviews are fake. In case you notice a slew of positive reviews posted within just a few days, there’s a good chance it isn’t authentic. Know that some sellers hire people to create fake account, purchase items, and leave excellent reviews. Because of this, an incredibly high number of 5-star reviews is a red flag.