Today’s business decision makers have a lot of choice when it comes to tech tools and software to enable their businesses. Most business owners want to buy software at the best price. And there are many online resources that promise authentic solutions at rock bottom prices. But beware. Software pirates have learned to target business leaders by offering low prices and super deals, so what seems like a great buy could lead to the accidental purchase of pirated or counterfeit software.

So what’s the danger of counterfeit software? International Data Corporation (IDC) found that businesses that unknowingly purchased fake or pirated software are paying more than $1,000 to recover from just one incident resulting from malicious software on a single PC. Remedying data loss or damage will almost always result in system downtime, a consequence that will slow your business operations and likely lead to fiscal setbacks. Even worse, your business can face potential risks to its reputation from the use of counterfeit software, especially if it results in the loss of sensitive customer or employee data.

How do you spot fake software?

  • Before purchasing your software, ask the seller to confirm it will pass the Windows activation test. Once you get the software, activate it immediately by entering the product key code to determine whether it is properly licensed and genuine. If it isn’t genuine, contact the retailer or seller and contact your credit card company to see if there is recourse.
  • Do your homework and check the feedback section on a seller’s site to find comments based on previous transactions. Avoid sellers with a history of dissatisfied customers. 
  • Beware of websites that sell “cheap software” by download or advertise “free” software; if the deal seems too good to be true, it likely is.
  • Check the label, package and discs and be suspicious of software products that do not include proof of authenticity, such as a hologram CD, DVD, recovery media, manuals and Microsoft Software License Terms (MSLT). Genuine Microsoft software should appear primarily copper in color and the hologram has a wavy effect.
  • Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. This is your first line of defense and will reduce your computer’s risk of exposure to viruses and malware when downloading software.

If you think you’ve been a victim of purchasing counterfeit/pirated software, visit http://www.howtotell.com.

By: Craig Hodges, Northeast District General Manager