It seems more people are turning to the web than the mall when it comes to finding a bargain. But even the savviest of shoppers can stumble onto websites selling counterfeit goods. 

If you type in words like "cheap" and "discount" followed by the name of a product, there's a one in five chance you'll end up at a website selling counterfeit goods. Many of these sites are difficult to distinguish from legitimate retailers selling end-of-season clearance items or overstock.

Canadian fashion retailer Canada Goose has recently been hit by counterfeiters. The fake jackets are being sold on the Internet for up to 50 per cent off. But tests have shown the jackets were not stuffed with goose down. Instead, they found cat fur, feces and other scraps inside the jackets.

“We sent four counterfeit jackets to feather industries to have the labs test those jackets to see what was in them and three of the jackets didn't have a trace of down,” said Kevin Spreekmeester, Canada Goose vice-president of global marketing.

“You could have allergic reactions to the clothing. It is something that we have heard of is quite common with counterfeit items. What you think you are getting is a high quality product, but in the end it's a cheap knock-off,” said Mark Fernandes of the Better Business Bureau.

If you’re not sure if a website is legitimate there are a few things you can look out for:

  • A contact page – Look for a physical address and phone number.
  • Secure payment info – Make sure the web address bar has an "s” in the https://
  • Manufacturer’s website – The original website will often list legitimate distributors
  • Spelling and graphics – Keep an eye out for poor quality graphics & spelling mistakes.
  • Pricing – If the price is much lower than average, it’s probably too good to be true.

And finally, pay with your credit card. Under federal law you can dispute charges if you do not receive the item.