WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- 46 days until Christmas and I know you are starting to pull together your holiday shopping list.
Shopping online has become a favorite way to snag a great deal, but not all internet merchants are created equal. Low prices can blind consumers from spotting fakes.
Americans love deals on designer items and scammers know it. Clothing, shoes and handbags are among the most popular items for counterfeiters, so do some homework before you buy.
Before you go ahead and jump on that deal, check out a merchant -- especially one you're unfamiliar with -- ahead of time. Go online, put the merchants name in a search engine, and the words "rip-off" and "complaint" and see what other people that have dealt with them are saying.
Some other tips:
- Look for security features like a seal of a sticker a real manufacturer will add. It's hard to reproduce.
- Some major labels offer advice on avoiding counterfeits on their company websites, so browse their sites first.
- Beware of low prices simply too good to be true.
- Use a credit card for purchases, which can offer greater protection than a debit card in the event of fraud.
If you do get duped, don't try to resell the merchandise. Even if you tell somebody, this isn't a real "whatever" handbag but it's still a great bag, you're still liable. You could really get in trouble, you could really get prosecuted. So don't resell it.