A warning by the UK Border Force cautioned frenzied Christmas shoppers to watch out for cheap and dangerous knock-off goods.
The Home Office shared tips on how to avoid counterfeit goods this holiday season, as shoppers are on the lookout for bargains, including cheap mobile phones, electrical appliances, and beauty products.
Make-up containing faeces and arsenic and malfunctioning electronics pose a danger to one’s health and well-being, while the proceeds from the sales often go to organised criminals, supporting sweatshops, child labour, and even terrorists — the Home Office warned.
Authorities also warned against using counterfeit websites to purchase goods, as they could compromise personal banking details of shoppers.
“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”, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said.
The National Crime Agency has issued advice on how to tell if something is fake and thus avoid counterfeit goods.
- Price, packaging and where it’s on sale are three indicators to whether goods are counterfeit
- Packaging is often hard to spot, as it’s made to look like the real thing as much as possible. Often, it even carries the trade marks of genuine manufacturers
- Many fakes are of inferior quality, and the impression given is that they are “end of line” or stolen rather than fake
- With some luxury goods, such as watches, fakes are offered for sale at or near the normal price to reinforce the idea that they are genuine
- Internet auction sites are an attractive outlet for fake digital media — DVDs, software and music — and many sites are working hard to limit criminal opportunities