The value of the counterfeit goods trade rose from $1.2 billion in 2013 to $1.2 trillion in 2019, with the OECD estimating that 3% of the global market is counterfeit.
You don’t have to go down a back alley to meet a shady character who will show you fake watches hidden inside his coat. Counterfeit goods are now easily available across the internet on amazon, ebay, wish, aliexpress, Facebook, Instagram dedicated websites and many other online commerce platforms.
Unsuspecting consumers think they’re getting a bargain but fake medical products killed 250,000 people in 2019, fake cosmetics are often found to be highly toxic, not to mention that fake goods are shoddy and of poor quality. Fake electronics in the best case won’t work, in the worst case, will explode.
It’s not just a personal risk that shoppers face. Pirated and counterfeit goods supports drug dealing, human trafficking and prostitution. Fake traders avoid tax and cause genuine local sellers and even large, established companies, who follow all the rules, to go out of business. The trade and standard industry in the UK reckons that £they have lost 9 billion from the economy, £4 billion in tax and approximately 60,000 jobs.
Fake websites are everywhere. The WHO estimates that 50% of pharmaceuticals sold online are fake, nine out of every ten Viagra pills are fake as well as the majority of Xanax available in the UK.
These websites can seem legitimate, or perhaps you are on a legitimate website, but the trader is a criminal or you click on a pop up, or an ad that promises you a good deal, The dangerous criminals have spent a lot of time and invested money into good websites that look professional with high quality images and links. What they then do is steal your personal details, provide you with poor quality, dangerous products and use the profits to commit dangerous, serious crimes .
45% of the world is on social media and that includes a lot of people trying to sell you things, and a lot of fake products being promoted.
It may seem fine to buy counterfeited oven gloves, after all, what’s the harm? You get a cheap deal, who cares?
It matters because your money gives criminals the ability to promote other, genuinely harmful counterfeited products. A 16 year old girl bought a kylie lipstick in 2019, thinking she’d bought a bargain. She ended up in hospital in severe pain after her lips swelled. She was ok. Not everyone is. Your money can also support human trafficking, fake medicine sales, drug dealing as well as putting innocent hard workers out of a job due to loss of revenue.
Too good to be true? It probably is. Check the grammar and spelling, check the url and postal address, if there is none, or if it’s similar but not identical to the genuine site, don’t buy from there. Check reviews, google the product description and the name of the website, and make sure you have a good antivirus software.
It’s too dangerous to buy from counterfeiters. It’s too easy to support dangerous criminals.