June 15, 2024

Émilie H., a Paris resident, fell victim to an online scheme in February 2022. She found a Nottingham handbag by Sœur on a website, architectes-fr.com with a price almost half the usual. Caught off guard during a complicated time, she ordered the bag, but never received it.

Interestingly, Tom C. from southwestern France shared a similar experience. After finding a rare Reebok sneakers’ colour on the website Anthonybannach.com, he ordered them instantly. Despite receiving a tracking code, the sneakers were never delivered, and his refund requests were ignored.

Regrettably, Emilie H. and Tom C. are not the only victims. The media outlets, Le Monde, Die Zeit and the Guardian, accessed various leaked documents of a Chinese cybercrime syndicate. [The German cybersecurity company SR Labs](https://www.srlabs.de/) obtained several gigabytes of the group’s internal documents.

![ Example of fake sites belonging to the same network](https://investmentshoax.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/406adf6_1714382242756-fakecollage.jpg)

The figures are shocking: in four years, the criminal group’s fake online stores recorded over 800,000 global orders. Among these, at least 170,000 were by French users—the largest group of victims. SR Labs identified the group as “BogusBazaar”, responsible for creating over 75,000 fake e-commerce websites, causing multi-million euro losses.

Fabrication of Deceptive Websites

BogusBazaar has created these fake sites mechanically in large quantities. As it stands today, more than 22,500 are still active, operating under the radar till now. In 2023, Yarix, a cybersecurity company owned by the Italian group Var, was the first to raise a concern. It [identified approximately 13,000 websites](https://www.yarix.com/news/frodi-online-yarix-scoperta-una-rete-di-oltre-13-mila-fake-shop/) associated with a single entity that they named “FashionMirror”. SR Labs later identified five times more websites. All these websites mimic the catalogs of genuine online retailers, selling clothes, shoes, toys, and furniture.

![Extract from BogusBazaar’s internal guide to copying existing sites.](https://investmentshoax.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/a7049ef_1713881532455-scrape.JPG)

The syndicate’s internal documents provide insight into how they managed to set-up so many counterfeit websites. The new employees are given guides explaining the process of creating a cloned store. The group also uses specialized tools to identify websites that have high Google rankings but are no longer in operation. Domains of such websites are immediately bought over.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I spot a counterfeit website?

Always be cautious about surprising deals too good to be true. Scrutinize the website’s address to ensure it matches the type of product you’re buying. It’s always safer to buy from widely recognized and respected retailers.

What do I do if I suspect a website is fraudulent?

If you suspicious the legitimacy of a website, do not give any personal or financial information. Try reaching out to the contact information provided. If the website is indeed fraudulent, report the situation to your local law enforcement and consumer protection agencies.

How can I protect myself from online fraud?

Promote safe online shopping habits like double-checking website URLs, avoiding clicking on suspicious links, maintaining complex and distinct passwords for different accounts, and regularly updating your computer’s antivirus software. Also, monitor your bank statements often for any unrecognized transactions.