How to Spot a Fake Watch Website

This is the second post of a three part how-to series offering guidance for luxury watch buyers.

Before shopping online for an authentic luxury watch, you should know how to spot a fake watch website. Websites selling counterfeit watches aren’t always easy to identify. In some cases, they mimic a brand’s official website so closely that it’s hard to distinguish them from the real thing.

Don’t risk buying a fake watch and ending up with buyer’s remorse. Here are 10 ways to spot a fake watch website.

1. Search engine results
fake watch dealer google search result

Search engine results with the words “fake” or “replica” are obviously selling fake watches. Unfortunately, fake site listings aren’t always so evident.

To avoid being flagged as a counterfeit seller and blocked from search results, a listing may not include any reference to fake watches. In fact, fake watch site listings are often disguised by misleading or random content.

Above is an example of a disguised fake watch listing. Neither the SEO title or the meta description make much sense. Even the URL is improperly listed whereby the user is directed to a site selling fake watches.

If anything about the search engine listing looks suspicious, it most likely is.

2. Company name

fake watch site company name

A legitimate website will display the name of the company in the footer (bottom of page) near the copyright text.

A company name like Replica Watches is clearly selling counterfeit watches. On the contrary, an imposter watch site- designed to look like a brand’s official website- will often use the brand name.

Even if the company name doesn’t seem suspicious, you should still look for other telltale signs of a fake watch website.

3. Suspect URL

fake watch site suspect url

When “replica” or “fake” appear in the website address (URL) itself,  it’s a dead giveaway of a fake watch website. But don’t expect all fake sites to be so obvious.

With imposter sites, the URL may be similar to the official brand’s, but will include extra words and dashes or end with something other than .com.

Searching the URL through a domain database like Domain Tools is a quick way to verify the registered owner, contact information, geolocation, IP address, and other websites hosted by the same IP address. You can use this information to further research the site’s legitimacy.

4. IP lookup

fake watch site IP search

The IP address can provide the most damning evidence of a bogus site. Searching the IP address through a database like Virus Total will detect if any other sites associated with it are malicious or have been detected by other security scanners.

You should be weary of buying from a site in an IP address with flagged urls. Chances are, if one site is questionable, so are the rest.

5. Counterfeit jargon

fake watch site counterfeit jargon

When web pages contain words like “fake” or “replica,” the site is clearly selling counterfeit watches.

Other times, a fake watch site will completely disguise themselves and be void of counterfeit jargon. They may even “guarantee” their counterfeit merchandise to be real and authentic. Thus, it’s important to look beyond counterfeit buzzwords.

6. Pricing

You should familiarize yourself with the MSRP of the watch model you’re interested in buying. Be immediately suspicious of watch prices discounted 40% or more. Fake watch websites typically use low prices to lure bargain-hungry shoppers and sell their inventory before their website is detected and shut down.

This doesn’t mean you should assume that higher prices are an indication of authenticity. More and more often, fake watch websites will use higher prices to fool customers into thinking their watches are real.

7. Contact information

fake watch site contact us page

A legitimate retail website will include complete contact information like a phone number, address and a business email address. Hiding contact information is common practice of counterfeit websites and indicative of questionable customer support. If no contact information is available, you should consider the website as highly suspicious.

If there is contact information, you should search this information online to confirm the business is legitimate and trustworthy. Search the phone number and address to verify they are actually registered to the business.

Also, take note of the contact email address. Most scam websites use public email accounts like,,, etc. A legitimate website should use a business email address. For example, if the company name is Luxury Watch House, the email address should be

8. Quality

fake watch site quality

Typically, bogus sites won’t invest enough time or money to build a high quality website. Telltale signs include grammatical errors, misspelled words, shoddy looking logos or poor quality pictures.

Sometimes, counterfeit websites will use photos ripped from other sites or from former sites of theirs that were previously taken down. Product images that are watermarked with a company name or URL that is different from the website should raise concern.

On the other hand, a fake site masquerading as a major brand may mimic the official site so closely that customers are duped into believing it’s real. So don’t expect to recognize a fake website on appearance alone.

9. Refund policy

A site with no clear refund policy is a red flag. The shipping and returns/exchanges terms should be listed on the website.

But a site with a refund policy doesn’t exactly mean it’s legitimate. Counterfeit sites may claim to offer exchanges or refunds within 30 or so days, but are often unresponsive or may be shut down before then.

10. Security standards

secure browser address bars

Maybe you’ve decided the site looks legit and you’re ready to make a purchase. Before entering ANY banking information, ensure that both the padlock symbol and https:// appear in  your browser address bar.

The padlock symbol shows that the website has security and encrypts any banking details entered. Any legitimate online retailer will have these standard security measures.

If the site doesn’t, don’t go through with the purchase.

Hopefully, this information helps you to spot a fake watch website and avoid financial embarrassment. Stay tuned for part 3 of this series for more information on buying authentic luxury timepieces.

Related: How to Spot a Fake Luxury Watch reminds you that the safest purchase is always from a brand’s official site or one of their Authorized Dealers. has partnered with TAG Heuer and Richard Mille to offer eTitle authentication. To instantly verify the authenticity of a TAG Heuer or Richard Mille timepiece, enter the serial number into our Check Authenticity search bar. To find a Authorized Retailer offering eTitles for TAG Heuer and Richard Mille timepieces, we welcome you to visit our store locator page.