INTERPOL is building global awareness against traffic in illegal goods and drawing attention to the issue through the Turn Back Crime campaign.
Here are some questions to ponder:
What products are faked?
When you hear the term “fake goods”, what comes to mind? Handbags, watches and jewellery? Yes, to all of those.
More worryingly, the traffic in illegal goods also includes:
Food, drink, baby formula and alcohol;
Cosmetics and perfumes;
In other words, all the day-to-day items we take for granted are at risk of being counterfeit.
What’s the problem?
It’s not just the loss of revenue for legitimate companies, but there are serious health and safety risks for consumers. Products that are counterfeit are also likely to be sub-standard or faulty, and therefore dangerous.
Fake medicines could be completely ineffective, or highly dangerous;
Fake food and drinks could harm your health;
Fake cosmetics and perfumes could give you a nasty skin rash;
Fake electrical products could be a fire hazard or cause electrocution;
Fake toys could harm your children;
Fake engine oil could make the car or plane you’re travelling in unsafe;
Fake construction materials could result in buildings and homes that do not conform to required standards;
Fake pesticides can contaminate large areas of land and make them unusable for several years;
The organized groups behind these crimes are known to use illegal child labour.
What can you do?
Counterfeit goods are often difficult to distinguish from the real products, but these simple steps can help ensure you are buying the genuine article.
Does the price seem too good to be true? It probably is! A particularly low price tag should trigger alarm bells;
Check the logo and packaging carefully;
Examine the product and be wary of any signs of poor construction;
Check any safety seals;
Ask the seller where the product came from;
Does the item come with a guarantee? Be suspicious if electrical goods don’t offer one;
Buy your goods from authorized retailers;
If buying online, check details about where the company is registered. If no contact details are offered, be suspicious!
If you’ve seen it, report it!
If you have bought something that turns out to be fake, or if you know where people are selling fake products, report it to your local police.