It’s the final run-up to Christmas and a lot of people will be using this last weekend to hunt for last-minute gifts. We understand that shopping for Christmas can be really stressful. Finding the best deals on our presents may be one of the main targets when out shopping this year, which is why scams and counterfeits are often so successful.
In the vast swathes of deals and discounts available on products this year, you need to be clear that sometimes a deal is too good to be true. Honest and trustworthy sellers are not the only ones offering bargains as international gangs of counterfeiters, pirates and fraudsters understand the benefits of luring buyers too and will use every trick to make you 'click'.
It’s estimated that for the first time, spending in the lead-up and during Christmas is likely to exceed £1bn and that a major part of this will be online as 25% of shopping and purchases will be through websites. That’s why it’s incredibly important to be aware of the seller and their credentials and only buy from shops and websites that you trust.
Not only could you end up with products that aren’t genuine, those products you give away as presents to loved ones could be dangerous to their health. Customs authorities across Europe confirm that over 37% of fakes picked up at our borders are now dangerous to consumers and a recent report by the OECD and the Intellectual Property Office confirms that the third most counterfeited products coming into the UK are cosmetics and perfumery. Counterfeiters don't pay any attention to the strict laws that genuine sellers of cosmetics products must adhere to.
It’s also important to be aware that scammers will also work to steal your personal information and banking information, with over 25% of UK consumers having been the victim of such an attack during sales periods.
The advice from our friends at the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (A-CG) is to check who you are buying from. If you’re in the high street, go to a reputable store. If you’re online, the A-CG reminds us that over 83% of fakes come from China. The A-CG also tell us not to be too quick in committing our money. "Check the price of the product against other sites. You may even get the same deal from the original manufacturers."
If the price seems to good to be true, it probably is!
If you are worried about a purchase, let your local Trading Standards Office know - they are on the watch for fakes.
Read more about Anti-counterfeiting: