19th November 2021

Campaign targets Christmas fakes

A multi-agency group is warning consumers to watch out for fake, and potentially dangerous goods, that may appear on social media in the run-up to the festive shopping season.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
Collaborative approaches on intellectual property protection are a positive way forward, bringing together key partners from different sectors

Operation Monty, a collaborative enforcement campaign coordinated by the National Markets Group for IP Protection (NMG) and designed to tackle the sale of fake goods on social media, is currently underway. As part of the campaign NMG members, including the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), British Recorded Music Industry, Design and Artists Copyright Society, Association of Photographers and others have reported more than 400 online traders to Instagram for removal and take-down.

With Black Friday fast approaching and consumers vying for bargains, traders in counterfeit goods are looking to exploit the shift to online buying by attempting to offer products which are often dangerous goods on social media platforms.

‘’Counterfeiters operating on social media draw in unsuspecting consumers, using well-known brand names, to sell their illicit goods,” said Graham Mogg, Intelligence Co-Ordinator at the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) and Chair of the NMG.

“This criminal activity undermines the fabric of society, robbing legitimate business of their income, placing consumers at risk and funds serious and organised crime. A whole range of counterfeit products including clothing, footwear, accessories, watches and even potentially dangerous goods such as toys, cosmetics, perfumes and electrical goods are being offered on these platforms’’

The operation is being supported by the UK Intellectual Property Office’s Intelligence Hub, National Trading Standards e-Crime Team and Trading Standards authorities.

The Intellectual Property Office’s Chief Executive Tim Moss said: “Criminal networks are targeting online platforms to deceive consumers into buying counterfeit goods. This undermines legitimate sellers and causes harm to individuals and communities.  We are really pleased to be part of Operation Monty and work with our partner organisations to raise awareness of this issue and disrupt IP crime.”

Mike Andrews, Lead Coordinator at the National Trading Standards eCrime Team said: “Counterfeit goods harm consumers, damage legitimate businesses and fund organised crime. Our partnership will crack down on criminals who hide behind social media, ensuring consumers have a safer and happier Christmas.”

Patricia Lennon, Campaign Manager of the Real Deal Campaign for Fake-Free Markets, which includes online and social media marketplaces as well as physical markets and car boot fairs, said: “Collaborative approaches on intellectual property protection are a positive way forward, bringing together key partners from different sectors who share a common interest in protecting consumers and supporting legitimate businesses.’’

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