How to Spot
The web is full of companies (from who knows where) offering pirated, illegal, or cracked key codes for basically all top Microsoft products.
These companies offer products for prices that are too good to be true or advertise an ”Instant Digital Download or License” for any Microsoft software (which doesn’t exist for genuine products).
Red Flags of Fake Software
Notice in the image to the left the product is advertised for less than 1/4 of the normal product price. The first sign of counterfeit software is advertised products with a price point far below the standard price or what you could find the product for if you were buying direct.
You can also spot illicit software when resellers advertise an “Instant” or “Direct” download, which does not exist with genuine products.
What does genuine product delivery look like?
While we are more than happy to open your product box and send you the product key card so you can begin using your software right away, we will also ship your products to you!
If you do prefer to receive a photo of your product key to begin utilizing your software right away, make sure the company can send you a photo of the original packaging with all labeled product key codes. If they cannot provide you this information, chances are the software is fake or illegally acquired. Ask questions and be aware, as it is very easy for companies to build a slick looking professional website and trick you into thinking that what you are getting is genuine.
Why Does it Matter if I Buy Illegal Software?
- The product may not be able to be updated as Microsoft has blocked the product key
- Potential increased exposure to malware
- Risk of a software audit by the BSA or Microsoft should an employee file a report
- If you encounter a problem with the purchased product, the company that sold it may be out of business and you have no way of getting support or your money back