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Don't be caught on Santa's naughty list: Canadians vulnerable to counterfeit purchases this holiday season

Microsoft Canada survey reveals Canadians do not feel confident in their ability to identify counterfeit products

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Dec. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - Eighty-four per cent of Canadians say they have not knowingly purchased a counterfeit product, yet a recent survey commissioned by Microsoft Canada, suggests that Canadians do not know where the risks really lie.

Canadians are not confident they know how to identify the differences between counterfeit and genuine products. Less than half of the consumers surveyed felt they know how to identify counterfeit products such as albums/movies (43%), clothing (30%), computer software (28%), electronic devices (27%), handbags (24%) and sunglasses (21%). In fact, Canadians admit that it is increasingly difficult to identify illegitimate products with 38 per cent indicating price charged as the best indicator of a counterfeit product. Poor construction (21%) and off-brand logos (18%) were also key indicators.

"Counterfeiting is real, it's out there and potentially at a store near you," said Lorne Lipkus, founding member of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network.  "The counterfeiting and piracy industry is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. Today's counterfeit operations are extremely advanced and often linked to organized crime.  The risks to Canadian consumers both online and in-store are high due to lack of education on how to detect counterfeit products."

There is also a misconception among consumers as to what the real threats are.  Fifty-eight per cent of Canadians are concerned about purchasing counterfeit products online this holiday season, while only 35 per cent are worried about purchasing counterfeit in-store. Consumers need to recognize that it is possible to purchase illegitimate products both in-store and online and proactively take the initiative to identify the real from the fake, which can include everything from clothing to electronics, and medication to software.

"Counterfeit crime and software piracy is a global problem both online and in-store. Canadians need to take extra precautions to educate themselves on what to look for to ensure they do not inadvertently buy illegitimate products when purchasing gifts this holiday season," said Chris Tortorice, Corporate Counsel, Anti-Piracy, Microsoft Canada Inc. "Microsoft offers resources to educate consumers on what to look for to ensure they are buying authentic Microsoft products. By providing resources like the www.howtotell.com website, we are helping protect customers around the world."

One thing 77 per cent of Canadians agree upon is that they are not likely to buy counterfeit goods knowingly and are in tune with the risks associated with purchasing counterfeit products.  Seventy-one per cent of Canadians agree that counterfeit goods are harmful to the economy. Additionally, Canadians agree that counterfeit products open them up to a number of personal risks such as productivity loss (77%), privacy breaches (72%), and personal injury (64%).

When Kelly Henderson of Barrie, ON purchased Microsoft Office 2010 Professional edition on an online auction website in June 2012, she never suspected she would be sold counterfeit software. "I was confident I was buying genuine Microsoft software from a reputable online reseller. The packaging looked authentic online," said Henderson. "It wasn't until the software failed to install that I realized I had been a victim of counterfeiting, potentially opening my computer up to malware and viruses. Luckily, I contacted Microsoft early or it could have caused a lot of damage."

Here are some helpful tips, provided by Microsoft Canada, which consumers can use to help avoid buying counterfeit products:

  • Do your research— Take some time to find out what you're buying and who you're buying it from. Listen to word of mouth, check references, and get insight from experienced and trusted retailers.
  • Compare the price - Everyone loves a good deal, but quality products are worth the extra cost. One secret when bargain shopping is making sure the sale is reasonable and not alarmingly low, which could be a potential red flag.
  • Look for flaws - Counterfeiters might be good at producing replicas, but there are usually subtle differences in the packaging of the goods, sometime including spelling mistakes and other obvious errors. Pay close attention before you make the purchase.
  • Use available resources - If you're questioning the legitimacy of a Microsoft product visit www.howtotell.com for more information and to report suspicious Microsoft software.

From November 20th to 21st, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 1,501 Canadian adults who are also Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error — which measures sampling variability — is +/- 2.53%, 19 times out of 20. The sample was balanced by age, gender, region and education (and language in Quebec) according to the most recent census data. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Microsoft Canada
Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has nine regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.

SOURCE Microsoft Canada Inc.

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