Microsoft marked their third annual Consumer Action Day by highlighting the results of a recently completed survey of nearly 40,000 consumers world wide which asked their thoughts on counterfeit software.

The results show a growing tide of awareness about the problem, and a worldwide call from consumers for industry and government to do something about it. An overwhelming majority — 80 percent — expressed a range of concerns about counterfeit, ranging from substandard quality to serious hazards, such as data loss and ID theft.

The good news is, more people are becoming aware of the danger, and by taking a few simple steps, it’s possible to protect yourself and steer clear of these phony products:

  • Whenever you buy new software, activate it immediately to determine whether it is properly licensed and genuine. Activation and validation are key to making sure you have the right product.
  • Make sure you purchase software from a trusted source, and always check the packaging, labels and discs carefully.
  • Your computer’s first line of defense is its anti-virus software. Make sure it’s up to date before downloading any software from the Internet.

Telling the difference between genuine and counterfeit software can be a challenge – give it a try yourself?

In each picture one is genuine and one is counterfeit.

Win7ProCases_web Win7ProOpen_web Office2010Cases_web
Win7ProDiscs_web   Office2010Discs_web

Hint: All the counterfeits are on the left in these pictures.

If you feel like you may have been the victim of counterfeit software then head over to for information on how to get assistance from Microsoft.