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Surge in Fakes Being Sold on Social Media

19 November 2020

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group is warning of a massive increase of fake goods for sale during the run up to Black Friday through 'Deal of the Day' promotions on online platforms and social media sites.

Consumers are being warned by the group to look out for fakes on social media platforms, such as Instagram, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions this November. One in five fashion posts on Instagram includes at least one fake item, according to analytics company, Ghost Data.

Research has shown that 25% of people have bought a fake on Black Friday in 2019 . Price drops make it harder for people to spot a fake and with a large increase of online sales expected during this period due to shop closures the ACG are warning consumers to be extra careful.

The number of illegal offers has increased by a staggering 171% since 2016 according to the company. Influencer commerce is now a powerful economic force, with many consumers swayed by endorsements from their favourite trend-setters. There are over 50,000 accounts either promoting or directly selling counterfeit goods on Instagram.

However, counterfeiting bonanzas during Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not exclusive to social media platforms. Criminal fraudsters are acutely aware of the growing potential of selling counterfeits through a plethora of fake websites and online marketplaces, such as eBay, Amazon, Alibaba, AliExpress or Wish.

ACG is warning consumers that counterfeit luxury and fashion goods have now been joined by dangerous fake toys, electrical goods, pharmaceuticals, mobile phones, chargers, alcohol and beauty products. The criminals involved have no morals or conscience. They know what will be on people’s Christmas lists and will not only working to take consumers’ hard-earned cash, in exchange for cheap and dangerous junk. They will also be looking to steal their personal and financial details through phishing and other scams.

Recent seizures at ports revealed, fashion items, sportswear, watches, handbags cosmetics toiletries, headphones, electrical appliances, smartphones and toys.

Phi Lewis Director General of the ACG warns, “As we meet these Black Friday and Cyber Monday “deal days” in the run-up to the festive season the scope of fakes will continue to grow and will include more and more unsafe products, including household appliances, toiletries, perfumes, hygiene and body care items. We are warning all consumers to be vigilant and check what they are buying. If you are buying from a social media site make sure you check the product is being sold by a reputable source.”

Here are some tips from the ACG on how to spot fakes on social media:
1. Take a moment to check the source
2. Is the price too good to be true?
3. Check the post or website it links to for evidence of flimsy packaging, spelling mistakes, etc.
4. Check the website for customer reviews
5. Are there customer service contact details and how to return the goods?
6. If you have any doubts look elsewhere.

Buying fakes is not a victimless crime, it funds child slavery, terrorism and serious crime. The global economic value of counterfeiting and piracy is now worth $509 billion, which feed other forms of trafficking, including people drugs and weapons. ACG is urging consumers to think before they click.

Consumers can get more advice on how to avoid buying counterfeits here: https://www.a-cg.org/consumer-advice  

About ACG

ACG represents more than 3,000 brands affected by this influx of fakes into the UK and delivers an international network of information, advice and contacts on all aspects of IP protection. Working with Government and law enforcement agencies since 1980, ACG is focused on providing an effective and sustained response to counterfeiting.

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