Q. Can I get Nike, NFL or Air Jordan stuff cheaply from this site?

There are a huge number of websites which offer name brand and team branded sports items, apparel and shoes at a discount. They may advertise “factory direct” or “wholesale” prices.

The bottom line is, if you are being offered name brand goods at a steep discount, there is almost certainly a scam going on at some level, and you cannot be sure your credit card is safe with the seller.

These are high-margin products, and the original items are expensive – in part because the manufacturer has to pay royalties to the sports league or personality to use the branding and logos. Because they are high demand, high priced, low cost of production items, the field is ripe for fraudulent operators.

In almost every case, branded watches, fashion items, clothes and shoes offered at a discount will be unlicensed counterfeit or knockoff products. Most of these sellers are based in China, beyond the reach of copyright law and civil court action from other countries. This means that they are ripping off the trademark and copyright holders of the brands, and it means that you as the consumer have no protection under consumer laws if you get ripped off, or if you receive substandard product. More worrisome, you also have no control over what rogue companies may do with your charge card, name and address information.

You can do some basic reasearch on the domain name with these hints


You can get information on the domain at a Whois service, Domaintools, or  www.scamadviser.com/

Some of the flags to look out for are:

  • Domain registration less than a year old
  • Registration address is phony or stealthed.  Look for sites stating their address is in the USA but the phone number is an offshore one, or the Zip code is phony.
  • Registration and administrator email addresses are free, throwaway accounts (gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc.)  No reputable company uses free email servers for business emails.
  • Check the location of the primary Name Server . If the Name Server is in China, regardless what the registered address is, the company is almost certainly operating out of China.
  • The domain name or store name doesn’t sound like a business name, but rather has either numbers in it, a personal name, or the words shop or store (908shop.com, davidstore.cn) or is stuffed with keywords (air-jordan-shoes-nfl-jerseys.com, nfljersey451.com). The thing that keeps companies honest on the web is the damage to their reputation if they don’t treat customers right. That persuasion is nonexistent if the operator intends to abandon the name as soon as people start to recognize them as a scammer.
      • I have seen one individual who registered fifty different domains on the same day, using 50 different phony registrants names and addresses. He will run a store for a few weeks on one domain, take a few thousand customers’ orders and payment, then shut the site down and transfer it to a new domain name and continue business while the first 2000 customers wonder when their shoes are going to arrive. He is now set for 2 years of ripping people off.
  • Google the company name to see if anyone has reviewed, blogged or complained about the site. Watch out for shill posts – these operators are very aggressive at posting positive reviews of their own sites all over the web. I saw a batch of posts saying they had a great experience buying from one particular site four months ago.  Problem – the site only was created 5 days ago.
    Often, there will be no reviews because the site has only been in existence for a few days or weeks.  Ask yourself why you would possibly trust your money to a stranger in a foreign country who has been online for a week.
    Rule of thumb – ignore positive reviews from random people, concentrate on the issues.

The bottom line is, if you are being offered name brand goods at a steep discount, there is almost certainly a scam going on at some level, and you cannot be sure your credit card is safe with the seller.


More info on Scams

BBB Scam Source: www.bbb.org/canada/scam-source/

RCMP Scam and Fraud page: www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/index-eng.htm

Canadian Anti-Fraud centre: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/english/home-eng.html

ABC Fraud quiz: www.abcfraud.ca/

Financial and investment fraud – BC Securities Commission:  www.befraudaware.ca/fraud-warning-signs?gclid=CKSr7uWFvrQCFQ_hQgodJ3IAMA

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