Fake iPads flood online stores before Christmas

Fake iPads are flooding the market in the run-up to Christmas, brand protection firm MarkMonitor has said in a warning issued to consumers.

The organisation found over 18,000 iPad clones being sold through a number of online retailers.

Most of the counterfeit devices can be traced back to China, where upwards of 5,000 outlets are allegedly selling fake Apple devices, including cheap reproduction iPads.

Fake devices typically feature inferior hardware and build quality, and do not include many of the features of the official versions. They do, however, come with a far more attractive price tag than Apple's official products - which is often what draws people into buying them.

“It’s very important for consumers to understand as they go into the holiday season, there’s a very high likelihood there are scammers out there,” said Fred Felman, chief marketing officer of MarkMonitor.

Apple has sold over 30 million iPad and iPad 2 units since the product line was originally released last year, so it's unlikely that the firm will notice a dip in sales because of a few knockoffs. For consumers, however, it can be a real problem, with many not realising that what they are buying isn't the real thing, thinking instead that they have simply found an excellent deal.

MarkMonitor's advice is to only buy from official Apple stores and resellers. Consumers are warned to look out for include official Apple logos on products (as they will often be missing from fakes) - but the real kicker is the price. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.