18 | 01 | 2017
EUROPOL’s New Campaign on the Risks of Online Buying of Counterfeit Products
Photo: Customs of the RoC
EUROPOL published a new campaign on its internet pages warning customers of potential risks from buying counterfeit products via the Internet, titled Don´t Fake Up.
Considering the fast-growing e-commerce in business, as well as certain risks it brings with itself, consumers are being warned of the need to enter this kind of buying desired goods in full awareness, being informed and with increased caution. Namely, illicit websites offer various counterfeit products, from clothing and footwear, food and beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, all the way to electronics and automotive spare parts, which can present a serious risk to consumers’ health and safety, considering the fact that they are made in unhygienic factories i.e. without regard to health and safety standards in production and without adequate control of manufacturing and final product quality. Therefore, it is very important for consumers themselves to learn about how to identify such fraudulent websites, in order to be able to eliminate or significantly reduce the risk from buying counterfeit products.
Experts warn of the fact that when shopping online, a customer is more likely to fall victim to counterfeiters, since there is no physical product to be looked at and felt in order to establish its defects on the spot. It has been proven in practice that some illicit websites selling counterfeits are so sophisticated and precisely developed that it is hard for an average customer to detect that they are fraudulent. Customers are also to be warned of counterfeits being offered nowadays via social networks (for example Facebook) and counterfeiters who are also exploiting many other ways of advertising and promoting products online, such as spams, unauthorised usage of terms related to a protected trademark or brand in the domain name. In recent times, there is a tendency noticed to advertise counterfeits via mobile app stores.
For the purpose of informing consumers about these problems as well as possible, and in order for them to avoid buying counterfeit products via internet services and potential other accompanying unwanted consequences (such as abuse of their personal information and card details used for payments or installation of unwanted software or viruses to their computers or mobile devices), EUROPOL prepared specific guidelines and instructions for customers about how to detect such fraudulent websites. The mentioned instructions can be accessed via the following link.