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Summertime fakes – don’t get duped this holiday season

The weather is warmer and holiday plans are on the horizon for many of us, making it the perfect time to watch out for counterfeits of our favourite summertime purchases. Unfortunately, the rise in temperature means a rise in fakes, with items like sunscreen, alcohol and sunglasses popular targets for criminals looking to dupe consumers.

Counterfeit sunglasses

In November 2022, 84,000 counterfeit designer good items, including sunglasses were seized by police in a raid in London. It’s estimated this haul was worth a £200 million loss to the industry. Counterfeit sunglasses may seem harmless, but according to experts in the industry, fake designer sunglasses are dangerous; they will not contain UV protection and could cause serious pupil damage or even loss of sight. Always purchase sunglasses from a reputable seller; optometrists and pharmacies are a good choice. If purchasing a designer pair, check the official website for a list of reputable sellers to ensure you are buying the real deal.

Fake sun protection

Counterfeit sun lotion offers little protection and can contain harmful ingredients causing major skin irritation and even burns. If you are buying anything for your skin, it’s safer to choose a reputable retailer such as a pharmacy, leading supermarket or department store.

It may be tempting to purchase goods from Amazon or other marketplaces such as DHGate or AliExpress, however you could be buying from unauthorised sellers or even worse, a counterfeit product which has not been tested. Cheaper products could also be past their expiration date as they’ve come from overseas and been in storage, resulting in old product stock that lacks adequate sun protection.

Fake alcohol

According to a report by Euromonitor, the amount of illicit alcohol being consumed globally is up to 26%, this frightening figure indicating what a huge problem counterfeit alcohol is worldwide, with vodka being the most counterfeited spirit. Fake alcohol can contain dangerous substitutes for the chemical ethanol which can be toxic and cause serious side effects. Counterfeit alcohol can be cleverly manufactured to look legitimate, making it hard to spot a fake.   Interpol has some handy tips on how to safely buy alcohol and what to do should you suspect you’ve bought unsafe alcohol.

Fake websites and social media

Online marketplaces are just one stream for those pedalling fakes. Social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok can be riddled with fake goods, trademark infringements or the misuse of official copyright images.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Influencer report in 2021, which looked at social media and the impact of influencers on users, found 17% of female participants had knowingly purchased fakes, and 13% of UK female participants aged 16 to 60 were influenced by social media endorsements in their purchases of counterfeits. Buyer beware – many social media influencers are being rewarded financially or receive free products for endorsements; you could be purchasing unsafe goods so don’t risk it.

Fake sponsored ads can lead to unscrupulous websites. Social media platforms have systems in place to report suspicious goods, ads and sellers, so if you come across fakes – or simply something that doesn’t look right – report it straight away. More information on how to do this is available on our sister site bogusbuster.org.

Airline Scams and Fake Competitions

In the current economic climate, most of us are looking for ways to save money. Airline scams are on the rise and target travellers using fake websites, phoney advertisements and phishing emails designed to steal personal information. Last month’s SnapDragon blog looked at Airline scams and typical tricks used by fraudsters. ‘You’ve won something’ scams are still circulating on WhatsApp or text message, these can involve ‘surveys’ leading to fake websites to win a prize or be entered into a competition. Never click on suspicious links – it may seem like a tempting offer, but you never know the source and it’s likely to be a scam to steal personal details.

Stay safe from fakes this summer and never assume that if an item is sold on a well-known shopping marketplace, social media or auction site, it is genuine. For more information on how SnapDragon can help you stay aware of counterfeits or protect your brand then get in touch now.


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