The Dangers of Buying Counterfeit Goods by Ron Harrison

There are anti-counterfeiting services up and down the country that work night and day to get fake and hazardous items off the market. What is the point in making and enforcing safety laws if companies and counterfeiters are still allowed to churn out dangerous and illegal goods?

People think that counterfeit and fake goods only appear in yard sales, car boot sales, on markets and in pop-up shops, but it also happens in high street chains and on reputable websites. It happens online, even on websites such as Amazon, where seemingly legitimate and trusted sellers are churning out thousands of counterfeit, fake and low-quality goods.

Unintentionally Supporting Criminals

Buying cheap goods can result in supporting criminals and helping them continue to produce low quality merchandise, which can saturate the market and put respectable traders and brands out of business. Buying from these people helps them perpetuate the business, and helps them put more people at risk and more people out of work. They help to fund illegal aliens that wouldn’t otherwise be able to get jobs. Buying from them helps to fund benefits cheats that want more money whilst still claiming from the government.

The public who are lured by the low cost of these items are actually making the problem worse, putting more people in danger, plus inadvertently damaging the country as a whole by allowing criminals to dodge the system and still make a good living.

There are Dangers to Buying Counterfeit Products

There are massive dangers that come with buying things such as fake cigarettes and fake make-up. Even things such as fake sippy cups with pictures of movie characters on them can be dangerous because they use materials that the EU and US governments have deemed to be harmful. There are cases of furniture and clothing posing serious safety hazards because they are flammable and/or give off toxic fumes. The chemicals they contain are the same ones that have been banned through their links to cot death.

Things such as cheap cigarettes are often so cheap because the tobacco has been padded with other materials. In many cases, the tobacco has started to collect in the bottom of the packet because it has not been factory produced – it has been tampered with. The chemicals that are given off when these padding materials are burnt have been known to cause problems ranging from mouth and throat irritations to blindness and increasing the chances of a stroke.

There are times when cheap jewellery has caused serious and life-threatening allergic reactions, and there are many similar cases where cheap and counterfeit makeup and hair dye has causes reactions that scar a person for life and have even led to death. The risks are not worth the small amount of money you save.

Trying to Fix the Problem

Things such as counterfeit goods are often difficult to spot if the company behind them is making a good job of producing the counterfeit merchandise and is building a good reputation through what appears to be honest and professional business practices. Despite the fact they are selling counterfeit goods, they are fooling enough people to maintain a good online and offline reputation.

Things such as counterfeit make-up and counterfeit cigarettes may contain chemicals that are harmful to humans. That is why Surelock take special pride in helping to take down people that sell such items, and do their best to secure genuine items from pilfering.

The problem with counterfeit clothing and fake luxury goods is that there are times when the products are very good copies and are very high quality. There are also times when the businesses that sell them are very well and very professionally run. In these cases, it is very difficult to identify the people that are producing and selling them. It is thanks to the vigilance of honest retailers and companies such as Surelock that these companies are stopped and the people behind them are jailed: such as the man from Dudley that sold over 300 types of fake clothing by printing logos on regular shirts himself.

People that sell counterfeit perfume and counterfeit jewellery may not be working to fund a terrorist organization or funding their lives as illegal aliens. For example, one man was selling fake perfume and fake jewellery branded items in his high street store to fund the opening of a low-cost food store. He was prosecuted and sentenced for his crime. Read more about the story here.

Rogue Traders Undermine the Entertainment Industry

The music and entertainment industry has had a lot of trouble because of downloads. They now make their money selling a brand. Movies make more out of action figures than they do out of DVDs, and bands can make more out of signature make-up and perfume than they can selling CDs or downloads.

People think that cheap goods fraud is a harmless vice and do not realise how much counterfeiting harms the entertainment industry. They think that as long as their children can not tell the difference, there is no point in buying more expensive branded goods, when cheap merchandise is available. What they fail to understand is that cheap goods, cheap make-up, cheap perfume, cheap clothing and any cheap counterfeit or stolen goods will hurt the genuine industries.

They do not make people such as Britney Spears or Justin Bieber any poorer, but they do make entertainment companies tighten their belts. They are less likely to give a struggling new artist a try. Instead, they hire people that are related to those in the business. We get movies with Will Smith’s kids in them, instead of movies with fresh new talent. We get music funded by brands instead of it being driven by music.

Packaging Can Be Engineered To Prevent Pilfering

The company Surelock has frequently proven that pilfering, shrinkage, theft and resale can be reduced by packaging, but it also pays to be vigilant as a consumer.

Broken packaging is usually a sign that something has been stolen through either rough handling during the robbery, or through the security tags being forcibly removed. Lower quality packaging is often a giveaway that you are dealing with fake merchandise.

Take note of the company itself. There are plenty of companies conducting fake goods fraud that are offering a good service, and they are the hard ones to spot. However, you will find people selling fake goods that are running a terrible business. If you see these people in real life, they tend to mistreat their stock (almost as if they do not care because they know it is junk). Online traders via websites will often have a bad reputation either via trust-checking websites, review websites, or on social media. If they are using an online marketplace such as eBay or Amazon, you will see their negative and “suspicious” reviews on their profiles. 

Ron Harrison

Ron is a workaholic and true professional, with 21 years in the private sector and 30 years experience as a Police Officer and Detective with Scotland Yard, working on many specialist squads both in UK and abroad. Retiring from the Police in 1999, he continued with the same enthusiasm in the private sector, and is now the Operations Director for Surelock, specializing in fraud, corporate investigations, sports investigations, surveillance & undercover operations, risk assessments / security surveys and IPR investigations, and is recognized as a world expert.

Ron has successfully attained the Pearson EDI Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators (QCF).

An active member of The Association of British Investigators Ron was voted onto the Governing Council in May 2018, holding the position of Discipline Chairman for a year, then in May 2019 he was elected as The President of the Association. He is also a member of the World Association of Detectives and The Anti-Counterfeiting Group