You may not be headed to Sochi, Russia this month for the 2014 Winter Olympics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show your Olympic spirit in other ways. One of the most popular methods of showing a little national spirit is by purchasing Olympic merchandise. However, when doing so remember to be aware of scams! Scammers know that Olympic merchandise is in super high demand right now and this creates the perfect opportunity to sell counterfeit merchandise or simply steal people’s money. A recent search on eBay showed 5,693 items for “Sochi 2014.” Many were authentic re-sales, but some were obviously fraudulent, including the “Olympic Torch Sochi 2014”, yours for only $7,000! You would most likely catch this blatant scam, but others might slip under your radar.
If you are thinking of buying Olympic gear and supporting your country’s team, make sure you are getting what you pay for, it’s the real deal and you don’t become the victim of a scam by following these tips:
- Familiarize yourself with Olympic logos, graphics and branding in order to easily spot a counterfeit.
- Consider shopping directly from the official website of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, sochi2014.com. It might be on the expensive side, but at least you know you are getting brand new and authentic Olympic merchandise.
- If you want to check out a product found elsewhere, or report counterfeit merchandise, hover over the little plus sign in the upper right corner and click on “Authentication.”
- If you want to buy U.S. or Canadian team merchandise, go to these official sites: Team USA – teamusa.org or Team Canada – olympic.ca
- Always use a credit card to make online purchases. If the seller turns out to be fraudulent, then the consumer can dispute the charge with the credit card company and may be eligible for reimbursement.
- If you receive any unfamiliar or unsolicited email, don’t open any attachments or click on any links, even if it promises a great deal on Olympic apparel or other merchandise.