How to avoid fakes

Checklist for shopping in stores

Get tips for spotting fakes

Producers of counterfeit and pirated products are becoming increasingly more professional and it can be difficult to distinguish fakes from originals. Earlier, it was mainly luxury products that were copied. Today, almost all types of products are falsified – e.g. also washing powder, batteries and medicines. 

Checklist for the shopping trip
Here are some tips on what to look for:
1. Is the price of the product suspiciously low?
2. Is the quality of the product lower than expected, e.g. uneven seams in textiles and leather?
3. Does the product smell of glue, plastic or chemicals?
4. Is the packaging, text and images of poor quality?
5. Is the point of sale unusual compared to the product image?

... and remember; If it sounds too good to be true – Then, it probably is!

Is the price unusual?
Ask yourself if there is a realistic price difference between the product you want to buy and the price of the product sold by the original manufacturer. Luxury brands are rarely on sale and especially not at dumping prices. If an advertisement claims that a product is strongly reduced, you should therefore be vigilant.

Also, keep in mind that some vendors of fake products will put their products for sale at a price close to the price of the original product to camouflage that their products are not genuine.

Smell the product
Leather should smell like leather - not like glue, plastic or chemicals. Counterfeited cosmetics and perfumes may have an excessive odor.

Labeling and product information
Are the product information, packaging or labels full of errors? This could indicate that the product is fake. Manufacturers of original products use professional translators.

Check out the original manufacturer's website
Many manufacturers of original products will supply information on who is selling their original products. Is the store you are buying from on the list of authorized dealers?

See the checklist for online shopping

6 good reasons to buy genuine products

  • Did you know?

    Trade in counterfeit goods accounts for up to 2.5% of world trade or USD 464 billion?

    Read more

  • Did you know?

    Counterfeit cosmetics have been found to contain arsenic, mercury, lead and rat droppings?

    Read more

Checklist for online shopping

Get tips for spotting fakes

It is easy to be fooled when you are shopping online, because you do not have the same opportunity to examine the product as when buying in a physical store. Fortunately, there are other ways to avoid fakes when shopping online.

Remember that counterfeit and pirated products are also sold on social media.

Checklist for online shopping
Here are tips on how to avoid counterfeit and pirated products online.

  • Are there language errors and odd prices?
  • Is the price suspiciously low?
  • Is the contact information for the webshop incomplete or suspicious? Check also the "About Us" page.
  • Is the URL strange?
  • Are the payment options suspicious?
  • Always pay by card, so you can dispute the payment ! (contact your bank)
  • What are other people's experiences with the site? Take a look at the various review platforms on the internet.

... and remember; If it sounds too good to be true – Then, it probably is!

Language errors and odd prices?
Many fake online shops are machine translated. It often results in poor language with lots of grammatical errors and misspelled words - or odd prices such as. DKK 361.87.

Is the price unusual?
Ask yourself if there is a realistic price difference between the product you want to buy and the price of the product sold by the original manufacturer. Luxury brands are rarely on sale and especially not at dumping prices. If an advertisement claims that a product is strongly reduced, you should therefore be vigilant.

Also, keep in mind that some vendors of fake products, will put their products for sale at a price close to the price of the original product to camouflage that their products are not genuine.

The "About us" page and faulty contact information
Genuine online stores will typically like to unfold the story of their business on the "about us" page. If this narrative is missing, it could indicate that it is a "scam shop".

Is it clearly stated who is responsible for the website? It should be easy to contact those who run the webshop. Genuine webshops are happy to inform you of their company name, address, company number, telephone number and e-mail.

Webshops in Denmark and the EU are obliged to provide you with certain information about the webshop, payment options, right of cancellation, etc. See what information the webshop must provide at (in Danish).

And remember - even though the page appears to be European, it could be from outside the EU.

Search the Internet for other people's experiences
Have other people experienced receiving counterfeit or pirated products from the webshop? Often you will find useful information about other peoples' experiences with the webshop via various review platforms on the Internet.

Look for danger signals
Does it seem likely that the webshop is selling the (original) brand in question? Are the pictures good? Is the website full of spelling mistakes and poor language? Please note that some webshops or vendors on internet auction sites may use images of the genuine product, but will send you a fake once you have paid.

Look for the e-mark
The e-mark is a Danish labeling system for secure online trading. The certification is not an expression of approval of the products being sold, but a guarantee that the web shop meets the e-marks' consumer protection requirements.

E-marked stores are continuously checked and if problems occur, lawyers from the e-mark will help for free. The E-mark is a voluntary certification scheme, so not all Danish webshops are certified. The e-mark is founded by ia The Danish Consumer Council and The Danish Chamber of Commerce

Pay by credit card
It is normally most secure to pay with an international payment card or credit card, where you enter the card number and expiration date. When you pay using this method you can dispute the payment. Read more about payment when shopping online (in Danish).

Have you already received the product that you suspect is counterfeited or pirated? Se hvad du kan gøre, hvis du har købt en kopi.

Se også
6 good reasons to buy genuine

Checklist for shopping in stores

Do you want to know more
With support from The Crime Prevention Council, the e-mark has created an animation film, where they give three good tips on how to spot scam stores online.

You can find more advice for online shopping in the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority's guide to secure online shopping and in the Competition and Consumer Authority 's guide on counterfeit and pirated products .

The rules on custom’s duty and VAT are described in the Customs Agency's guide to Internet commerce  and the Customs Agency's guide on Internet commerce outside the EU .


Reyhan had an allergic reaction, when she unwittingly bought a counterfeit lipstick.

Watch her story - and see what she does to avoid fakes in the future.

English subtitles; Press "cc" and select English

There are several good reasons to avoid fakes - read about them here.

  • Did you know?

    For the manufacturers of counterfeit products, is the profit that counts. They often use cheap but harmful substances. Counterfeiters don’t need to think about their reputation or product quality, since it’s the original producers and consumers who suffer the loss.  

    Read more

  • Did you know?

    Today, almost all types of products are falsified – eg also washing powder, batteries and medicines. 

    Read more

Often copied products

Earlier, most fake products were luxury products such as expensive handbags, watches and sunglasses. Today, almost all types of products are falsified – from cosmetics, toys, food, medicine, electronics and spare parts for cars.

Here, you can read about some of the items that are popular with counterfeiters.

Exclusive Swiss watches, designer clothing from France and leather products from Italy. Building up a brand name to the point where it becomes a fashion icon usually requires an enormous amount of preparatory work, innovation and risk taking. The owners of luxury brand names invest a lot of money to build up a particular image, including investment in quality assurance and innovation in order to maintain its reputation. All this contributes to the brand's popularity.

However, it should be borne in mind that those who purchase cheap imitation «Gucci» sunglasses on the beach in Sardinia are not just ruining things for luxury brand names. Such purchases also have a direct impact on the Danish society in the form of lost workplaces and tax revenue. Moreover, legitimate businesses are exposed to unfair competition from business operations that are involved in stealing the ideas and work of others and who therefore have no need to invest resources in product development. This, in turn, means that the original brand manufacturers suffer reduced profits and have less room to invest in innovation. Thus global growth in society is diminished.

According to a Europol risk analysis report from 2013, the money earned from counterfeit brand names is used to finance other illegal activities and organised crime such as people trafficking and drug smuggling.

You take a great risk, if you buy unauthorised medicines. Unauthorized medicine can cause very serious side effects and, in the worst case, lead to death.  Unauthorized medicine is manufactured, stored and sold outside the authorities control and it often contains other substans than those printed on the package. Or they may contain no active substances at all. Unauthorized medicines have even been found to contain substances like rat poison and paint.

Watch out when you buy medicines online!
Unauthorized medicines entering Denmark are typically bought from unauthorised online stores.

It's easy to be fooled into buying unauthorized medicines. The online stores which sell these medicines often look trustworthy and the medicine packaging is of high quality and similar to the packaging of the authorised medicine.

The Danish Medicines Agency therefore recommends that consumers watch out for themselves by only purchasing medicines on the Internet through online pharmacies or stores that have been authorized to sell medicines online by the Danish Medicines Agency or other medicines authorities in the EU . You can recognize such pharmacies on EU's green logo or blue logo.


When buying medicine for humans you should look for the green EU logo. If on the other hand, you need to buy medicine for animals, look for the blue EU logo.
The green and blue EU logo indicates that the online store is approved by a Medicines Agency, and the logo must appear on all online stores in the EU that are licensed to sell medicines to humans and animals, respectively.

On the Danish Medicines Agency's website, you can find overviews of Danish pharmacies and online stores (retailers) that are licensed to sell medicines to humans and animals via the Internet.
Here you can also get more good advice when buying medicines online.


Makeup, creams and other cosmetics are being counterfeited extensively. These products are usually sold on the internet by unauthorised sellers and, just as with medicines, these products can contain poisonous and harmful substances. There are examples og fake cosmetics which were found to contain arsenic, mercury, lead and rat excrements.

If you purchase fake cosmetics, you have no way of knowing who produced them, what they contain and who is responsible for making sure that they are safe to use. Nor are there any checks in place to ensure the products were manufactured in sterile conditions.

Wooden toys painted with paint containing lead; fun "jelly" trolls that contain paraffin; cuddly teddy bears with eyes that have not been secured properly and which therefore pose a risk of choking.

Toys and games also feature prominently in the world of counterfeit products. If you are offered brand name toys or games at a surprisingly low price, or via unusual sales channels, you have good reasons to be watchful. It could be fake. Counterfeit and pirated products have not been subject to the kind of product safety checks that apply for toys and games made by legitimate manufacturers.

The Danish Safety Technology Authority has a list of questions that you can ask yourself if you want to check, if the toys that you give to your child are safe. Read more here (in Danish).

Fake smartphones and chargers, earphones, kitchen appliances, music systems, hair dryers, hair straighteners, curling irons and TVs. Electronic devices are widely pirated and these fake versions constitute a serious risk to health and safety. Counterfeited and pirated products are not made with the purpose of giving you a safe and good product. They are made to earn the largest possible profit. 

You have no guarantee that a fake product will function properly; nor can you be sure that it is safe to use. Counterfeit and pirated electrical products can give a nasty electric shock, can suddenly short, or worst of all catch fire. Legal electrical products fulfil stringent safety requirements. Counterfeited and pirated products are outside the control from public authorities.

If you purchase counterfeit and pirated items, you are not only taking a big personal risk, you also contribute to a situation where those who should be earning money on an item they created do not receive anything.

In the spring of 2018, the Danish Safety Technology Authority has found several examples of counterfeit mobile chargers.

You can read their good advice when buying electronic products, on their website (in Danish).

That well-known design classics are being copied is not news. But what is legal and illegal when it comes to buying or selling fake designer furniture.

In Denmark, it is illegal to sell fake designer furniture. However, this rule does not apply in all countries. If you buy fake designer furniture online from such a country, be aware that it is illegal to do so, if you plan to make it available to the public - for example by putting it up for sale.

If you buy a copy for yourself - and if you later find out that you do not want the copy anymore - be aware that it is illegal to sell, lend, rent or give away the copy before the copyright expires in Denmark. It will e.g. be illegal to resell a copy of the "Swan", before the copyright has expired.

Please also note that the customs authorities have the right to seize copy products at the border purchased on the internet from a country outside the EU. This also applies even if you purchased the product for private use.

Read more about copyright at the Ministry of Culture’s website

Up until now, few people would connect daily household products with counterfeiting. However, and unfortunately, household products are also being copied.

In 2017, Europol led an international operation that resulted in the seizure of 9800 tons, of fake food and 26.4 million liters of fake beverages. The products concerned were every day products such as alcohol, mineral water, seasoning cubes, seafood and olive oil.

The purpose of the operation was to identify the criminal networks behind that were responsible for the distribution and sale of counterfeit food and beverages.

Manufacturers that counterfeit household products and copy famous brands, use cheap raw materials and have no safety or quality control in their production. Those who are running the production of fake products are difficult to track down and there is, therefore, rarely an individual who can be held liable if you fall sick, say, after eating fake foodstuffs, or where a baby's nappy contains harmful substances, or where an item is not of the quality you expected.

  • Did you know?

    If you buy counterfeit products, you don’t know what product you will get (if you get any at all), whether the product is dangerous - or if your consumer rights are respected.

    Read more

  • Did you know?

    That it is illegal to sell counterfeit products commercially. Therefore, if you buy a counterfeit product, you are typically dealing with a criminal. Do you trust that they don't misuse your credit card information?

    Read more

Dangerous products

Counterfeiters rarely comply with the health and safety regulations that original manufacturers do

Counterfeited or pirated products can pose a risk to your health

Here are a few examples:

In addition to harmful substances, fake toys can also contain small objects that pose a choking hazard to your child.

Counterfeit electronic products can also be dangerous. Fake batteries may explode and fake chargers may catch fire.

Counterfeit medicine can pose a serious health risk. As a consumer, you cannot be sure whether the medicine contains the right active ingredient or the right dosage of it - or whether it contains the active ingredient at all. Is not unusual for counterfeit medicine to contain ingredients that does not belong in medicines – rat poison and paint are some of the examples.

For a number of product groups, the risk is that counterfeited or pirated products can contain substances that are not approved. It can be clothing or toys that contain illegal coloring agent. It can also be hygiene articles with illegal chemical ingredients. Physical contact with these products may in some cases lead to allergic reactions.

Read about often copied products here.

See our 6 good reasons to buy genuine products.

CE marking...
The CE mark on a product signifies that the product is manufactured to meet the joint European minimum standard of health and safety. Many products cannot be marketed, sold or put into service within the EU/EEC, unless they carry a CE mark. The certification scheme includes toys, building materials, and electrical and medical products. Not all products must have the CE marking. E.g. the scheme does not include food, cosmetics or clothing.

…is also used on counterfeited and pirated products.
These days counterfeiting is so professional that the CE mark is copied alongside with products and trademarks in an attempt to convince the buyer that the product is genuine. Thus, the CE mark on a counterfeit product is not a guarantee that the product meets the European standard. E.g. counterfeit electronics and machines may pose a safety risk, because they can break down, explode, self-ignite, cause electrical shock, etc.

You can read more about the CE marking on the Danish Safety Technology Authority website (link in Danish).


Are you in risk of getting a counterfeit product you bought online destroyed if the Customs Authority detains it?