How to spot counterfeit Microsoft Office 2013 Product Key Cards (PKC)

There is a huge increase in counterfeit Microsoft Office software being sold on the internet.  Many websites such as Amazon and ebay are enabling the sales, although this is through the way their business models work, rather than on purpose.
We have made a number of test purchases through Amazon UK to see if the offers of cheap Microsoft Office are too good to be true…and the answer quite simply is YES.

Of 5 purchases we made of cheap Microsoft Office Professional 2013 and Microsoft Home and Business 2013, every one of them was a counterfeit product.

On first glance the products that arrived appear to be genuine.  The boxes look just like you would expect and are sealed as new product should be, but that’s where it ends.

On closer inspection of the top of the box where the label and certificate of authenticity are located, on fake products these are printed labels which do not change colour when you move the box, and the strip does not contain the word Microsoft (it should also not be smooth). Below is an example of a fake versus real certificate of authenticity

Fake-and-genuine-office-label

The box at the top is counterfeit. Note that the strip across is a single colour, rather than dual colours, it does not contain the word Microsoft, and the certificate of authenticity label is brown and does not change colour when the box is moved around.

Inside the box you should not have a DVD. PKC means “Product Key Card” so it does not require any media.  If the package you receive does contain media, it is highly likely that it is counterfeit.

Below is an image of a real product card versus a counterfeit key card

Fake-versus-real-Office_PKC

On the left is a fake Product Key Card, on the right is a genuine card.

Genuine cards will direct you to http://www.office.com/setup to redeem your purchase.  This is the only place you can redeem a product key.  You will be instructed to setup an account and download the software directly from Microsoft.  In the event of a machine failure, or you want to move the license to a new machine, all you need is the details of the login account you created at Office.com, and you can move the license.

If you are directed to any location other than www.office.com, you have purchased counterfeit software.

If you have already installed the product and you aren’t sure whether you’ve installed a counterfeit version, there is a really easy way of telling whether it’s real or not and that’s by checking the version you have installed.

Open any of the Office programs (Office Home and Business only comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook.  If you have more than that, you’ve probably got a counterfeit version).  Click on File and Account.  The following screen will appear with your Office version

Volume-Licensed_Office

 If the product installed is either Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 or Microsoft Office Standard 2013 then you have counterfeit software installed.  These are volume licensed products and are only available to purchase through selected Microsoft Partners who only sell to businesses.

If the product is Microsoft Office Home and Business 2013 or Microsoft Professional 2013, then you have the retail boxed product and is probably genuine.

If you think that you have purchased a counterfeit copy of Office you can report it here

If you are looking to purchase Microsoft Office 2013, make sure you purchase it from a reputable reseller of the product.  Any company showing the Microsoft Partner logo will be able to provide you with authentic licenses.  You can also purchase from established technology companies such as Comet / PC World, or from Amazon (make sure you are buying from Amazon itself and it doesn’t say “Fulfilled by Amazon” which means they are just delivering it, they are not selling it to you).

If you have any questions, you can contact us

 

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