If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is!
It won’t be long before its Black Friday and Cyber Monday and UK shoppers are once again chasing down the best deals for Christmas.
Last year online sales were up by 46%, which suggests that more and more shoppers will be getting involved and forecasts reveal that UK Shoppers are likely to spend more than £2 billion on 29th November and over £8 billion, in total, by the end of Cyber Monday.
But once again we need to be aware that we are not the only ones to recognise the benefits and profits to be made from Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Those looking for bargains need to be very alert, when they shop, as international gangs of counterfeiters and pirates are out looking for your hard-earned cash and will want to give you nothing in return.
Shopping extravaganzas are irresistible for “fakers” and they know we may be very likely to take a chance. They also know that they can use a variety of channels to get to us. The internet is of a preferred means as it gives them direct access.
The anonymity the internet offers is such an advantage to criminals. They can operate easily behind sophisticated looking sales sites, using fake trademarks, brands and emblems and even bogus certification labels to entice shoppers into thinking they are buying genuine, safe, products. The reality is, of course, that consumers can often end up with nothing more that cheap tat and increasingly dangerous goods. According to Customs authorities across Europe, over 37% of fakes picked up at our borders are now dangerous to consumers.
But this sick trade brings other threats, as criminals continually work to steal our personal details and banking information. We need to be aware that 25% of UK consumers have been attacked during these sales periods and given access to our data, the criminals will then use our money to fund other menacing crimes, such as drug trafficking, money laundering and child exploitation.
The Anti Counterfeiting Group understand that 30 % of all UK consumers will shop during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales period and it is vital that they are very watchful about any dubious offers. “Which” has put together a useful guide for shoppers to help protect themselves and Citizens Advice has joined the cause. Citizen’s Advice reports that almost half a million consumer-related issues were dealt with last year many of these related to undelivered parcels and fake goods and over 50,000 of these were in November 2018.
What does ACG say?
Firstly, check who you are buying from. If you’re in the high street, go to a reputable store. If you’re online remember that over 83% of fakes come from China. So, if the web site or shipping address looks to be in China or Hong Kong take extra care.
Don’t be too quick in committing your money. Check the price of the product against other sites. You may even get the same deal from the original manufacturers.
Once again If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is!
If you are shopping, we hope you get real bargains but please don’t let criminals get near you. Take extra care!
For tips on how to avoid being caught out this Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend go to https://www.a-cg.org/consumer-advice