Christmas risk from thousands of fake iPhones and designer bags on sale
Shoppers are at risk of buying thousands of fake iPhones and Louis Vuitton handbags this Christmas, the Home Office has warned.
Border Force, which carries out immigration and customs controls for people and goods entering the UK, said counterfeit products have potential health and safety risks, as they have not been subject to the vital testing of those sold by honest retailers.
Millions of goods like Premier League football jerseys and the latest children’s toys are seized each year, the majority of which are bought online and shipped in from abroad.
Using counterfeit websites could compromise personal banking details, and Border Force warned that proceeds are linked to supporting sweatshops, child labour and even terrorism.
Once items are seized, Border Force’s specialist international trade teams work with the owners of big brands to establish if goods are genuine.
If they are fake, the goods are destroyed and the rights holders can then decide whether to take out a private prosecution.
The 4 ways to spot the fakes
Border Force has issued advice on how to avoid counterfeit goods, which are shipped in every week in a bid to rip off brands and consumers.
Is the price right? If the price is too good to be true, then it probably is
Do the tags match? If you have a smartphone, use a scanner app to see if the barcode is real
Is it the total package? Is the spelling correct, does the logo look right, and is it up to the standard a top company would offer?
Does it pass the sniff test? If it doesn’t smell right, it might be a fake. For example, counterfeit perfume often has a different scent, and fake footwear could have a strong smell of solvents due to cheap glue.
Consumers who believe they have purchased counterfeit goods are advised to contact Action Fraud, their local Trading Standards office or visit the Citizens Advice website.
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said: "Counterfeit goods, especially electronics and beauty products, can risk the safety of consumers, and allow organised criminals to take money from honest retailers and public funds.
"Border Force are at ports, airports, and mailing rooms, working hard to keep these knock-off goods out of the country, depriving criminals of illicit profits and keeping consumers safe.
"I would also urge the public to take precautions so that these products don’t end up under their Christmas tree."
Scams to watch out for
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