The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) has launched a campaign in collaboration with the Intellectual Property Office and Facebook to take down online traders of counterfeit products.
Operation CLOVER has been timed to coincide with the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the UK, as shoppers look to buy gifts for family and friends.
“Traders in counterfeit goods are using prestigious brand names to sell illicit and potentially dangerous products online,” said ACG Director General Phil Lewis.
“Despite the easing of restrictions, COVID-19 continues to have a profound effect on the retail sector. With many shops still closed, shoppers have instead gone online to buy their gifts, and sellers have jumped in to meet that demand.
“Disreputable sellers are trading from their homes and garages, selling fake items bearing well established global brand names, including potentially unsafe electrical goods, toys, cosmetics, perfume, clothing, trainers and handbags.”
The ACG is urging consumers to be vigilant and check that any product they buy online is from a reputable source. If they are suspicious about goods being potentially counterfeit, they should report them as quickly as possible.
Graham Mogg, Intelligence coordinator at the ACG said, “We’re targeting traders that are deceiving shoppers by selling counterfeit goods online. These fakes are likely to be poorly made, poorly finished and more likely to be unsafe. That’s why we’ve been working with Facebook to remove listings of potentially counterfeit goods. We want to help protect innocent individuals who are shopping online and simply looking for a bargain.”