People in Staffordshire are being reminded about the dangers of counterfeit goods when shopping in the run up to Christmas.
Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards officers are reminding people about the potential risks of buying counterfeit goods and that they could be offered them at local markets, on social network websites and online.
The sale of counterfeit goods is big business with much of it linked to organised crime. Buying fakes does not only help line the pockets of criminals but they can also be harmful, especially when it comes to things like alcohol or even unsafe children’s toys.
Popular fakes this Christmas will include the latest children’s toys and dolls, branded sportswear, electronics, cosmetics and alcohol.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said:
“This is always a busy time for shoppers but it’s also a busy time for counterfeiters, which is why we’re reminding people of the risks of buying fakes.
“You might think you’re getting a bargain if you opt for fakes but you’ll land yourself with poor quality and possibly dangerous goods and in the long term out of pocket. Fakes can be difficult to tell apart so when something is being sold at a knock-down price, alarm bells should start to ring. We always say that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
“Over the last few years our Trading Standards service have seized millions of pounds of fake goods and through the proceeds of crime law, we have been able to seize assets and money from those successfully prosecuted. This money is then reinvested in local crime fighting operations and to seize more illegal goods.
“It’s our job to protect the public and legitimate business and we will continue our fight against counterfeiters and take whatever action is necessary.”
Some of the hidden dangers of counterfeit goods include:
- Counterfeit children’s toys can often be unsafe, with dangerous small parts and children’s clothes may be inflammable.
- Counterfeit alcohol such as vodka contains dangerous chemicals which can cause many health problems such as blindness
- Counterfeit perfume can often burn skin or leave a nasty rash and may contain lead
- Counterfeit electrical items can catch fire.
- Fake tobacco often contains unknown chemicals
People can report the sales of counterfeit goods on the Staffordshire Fight the Fakes helpline on 01785 330356.