An unhappy customer demanded a refund for some Microsoft software from his vendor when he found out that another shop was selling it at a lower price.
The vendor alerted the electronics giant, and on Monday the lower-priced shop in Kembangan Plaza was raided by the Singapore Police Force.
Some $80,000 worth of goods was seized, Microsoft said yesterday. It warned users to beware of unintentionally purchasing and using counterfeit software.
In Monday's raid, the authorities seized 43 laptops installed with suspected counterfeit copies of Windows 7 Pro and Office Enterprise 2007 that had fake authenticity certification.
"(Counterfeit) software could expose computers to spyware, malware and viruses that can lead to identity theft, loss of personal data, and unexpected system failures," said Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit's Jonathan Selvasegaram in a statement.
"This has dangerous repercussions, especially for businesses where operational disruptions caused by malware and viruses could potentially lead to heavy financial losses."
Honest computer vendors are also disadvantaged because dealers offering counterfeit software can charge lower prices.
Mr Roland Chan, senior director for compliance programmes in Asia Pacific at BSA The Software Alliance, said in a statement: "Most people do not know what is installed on their systems, and that needs to change... [They] should actively take steps...to protect themselves from unwanted exposure to potential loss of privacy and data."
To find out how to verify the origin of Microsoft products, consumers can visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/howtotell/default.aspx
This article was first published on November 19, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.