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ACG press releases

16 June 2020

Counterfeiting drives threat from serious and organised crime

Europol and the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) have joined forces to publish a case book report, which clearly proves the links between counterfeiting, serious and organised crime and other forms of international criminal activity.

The study brings together clear cases where money laundering, document fraud, cybercrime, fake drug production, trafficking and terrorism have been supported by profits derived from the sale of fake goods on our streets and markets.

Employing forced labour and the same routes and forged documentation used for other menacing forms of illicit trafficking, organised crime groups are drawing draw vast amounts of unaccountable cash to fuel international crime.

Phil Lewis, Director General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) explains that this joint report finally puts the myth to bed that counterfeiting is a low-level crime, which harms no one.

“International crime gangs are devastating our businesses, jobs and our economies. But more than this they are using the cash they make to threaten our families and communities by selling flammable clothing, fake medicines, food, alcohol, toys and a growing range of hazardous household products.

This has never been more illuminated than in the current pandemic crisis, when counterfeiters have been selling useless fake face masks, testing kits and even virus remedies.

They have no moral conscience and are using our money to fund transnational crime.  Instead our money should be being used to properly protect our communities, to re-build our economies and support vital public services”.

ENDS

 

Media enquiries – contact

 ACG Communications Manager, Carol Levin

 01494 449165 / carol@a-cg.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

Current Position


9 June 2020

Manchester shops defied the law

Shops in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester opened despite the restrictions in place on non-essential retailers and have been selling potentially dangerous products.

All non-essential shops were forced to close after the government announced lockdown measures on 23 March, to stop the virus spreading.

Despite these restrictions around 55 retail shops in Cheetham Hill opened their doors to sell counterfeit goods as well as fake COVID-19 related products such as facial coverings and hand sanitisers.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) warned "These traders aren’t concerned about social distancing or protecting the public. They have been ignoring the law and the products they sell will undoubtably put individuals and families at risk. We urge everyone to stop buying fake goods, especially at a time when the economy is struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic” 

In the last month, ACG has contacted several senior politicians including Priti Patel Secretary of State for the Home Department, Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer, Andy Burnham Mayor of Greater Manchester and the Labour Policy Forum as well as enforcement officers to highlight the problems in Manchester and the impact this illicit trade has on the economy and peoples’ jobs. It is estimated that fake goods divert up to £4 billion from legitimate businesses and public services.

Phil Lewis, Director General at the ACG said: " Our member brands, Trading Standards and Police have been fighting to close these units for some time now. It is a complex network of criminals and they are well entrenched.

“It’s great to see that Greater Manchester Police and partners have acted on information provided by ACG and issued prohibition notices to inform local businesses and counterfeit retailers of their responsibility to prevent the spread of Covid-19, but it’s now time for the politicians to step up and take decisive action to rid us of this counterfeiting scourge, which is openly destroying prized businesses.

“Failing to do this will have a huge impact on any efforts to re-build our economy.”

 

ENDS

 

Media enquiries – contact

 ACG Communications Manager, Carol Levin

 01494 449165 / carol@a-cg.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

Current Position

  • In 2019 the OECD and European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) reported that the global trade in fake goods is now worth $509 billion. 
  • Almost 7% of products imported into Europe are counterfeit. 
  • Fake goods imported to the UK are worth over £13 billion and result in losses of £4 billion to the retail and wholesale sector.
  • EU customs revealed that over 37% of detained articles were potentially dangerous to the health and safety of consumers.
  • Operating behind sophisticated looking sales sites and using legitimate social media and e-commerce platforms, counterfeiters use fake trademarks, brands and certification labels to entice customers into thinking they are buying genuine, safe, products. 

 About the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG)

  1. The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) represents the voice of business in shaping an effective deterrent to counterfeiting in the UK. We help to steer effective policy, promote evidenced based actions, empower multi-agency partnerships and strengthen international collaboration. We have been working since 1980 to raise awareness of this serious organised crime.

 For more information go to the ACG website https://www.a-cg.org/  and for a list of brands that are members of the ACG go to https://www.a-cg.org/membership/full-members

 

21 May 2020

Reluctance to seek medical care drives counterfeit medicine

People are buying prescription-based medicines over the internet rather than seek medical advice says Phil Lewis, Director General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG).

GPs have seen a dramatic fall in patients making appointments for routine consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic. NHS Digital data shows the total number of appointments recorded in GP practice systems fell from 6 million at the beginning of March to 4.25 million by the end of the month – a reduction of almost 30%.

ACG, one of the world’s leading anti-counterfeiting organisations, is concerned that people have been less inclined to consult their doctors on normal health issues and have taken to the internet to self-medicate.

 “This has happened at a time when large organised gangs, operating across the world have turned their attention to online crime” said Mr Lewis.

 “They use sophisticated websites, social media and e-commerce platforms to advertise products using fake trademarks, brand names and certification labels to try and convince customers they’re buying genuine, safe products. 

 “The reality is quite different. These predatory criminals have set out to dupe consumers into buying fake and unregulated medicines, which could easily maim and endanger their lives.”  

 Interpol has officially confirmed that some of these fake medicines have been found to contain mercury, arsenic, rat poison and even cement. 

 A public information campaign, featuring NHS staff, was launched earlier this month to persuade the public to use their local health service.

 The message was clear. GP services remain “Open for Business” and people’s conditions may worsen if they do not get the correct medical advice. If anyone requires a consultation, they should contact their local practice immediately, and ACG reminds everyone that buying medicines and remedies from unregulated sources is dangerous.

 “Think hard before you buy anything online especially if you are providing your personal and bank details. Avoid websites that have no physical address, that make claims like “no risk”, “perfectly safe”, “totally legal”, if the price is unusually low, there are spelling mistakes or if payments can only be made using unfamiliar methods such as “bitcoins” or other cryptocurrencies” added Mr Lewis.

 Counterfeit antibiotics, lifestyle drugs and painkillers are the most common fake drugs entering the country, often by post or express courier deliveries. Worryingly other medicines have also been arriving, counterfeit drug treatments for cancer, HIV and heart disease, and even local anaesthetics.

 If you are worried about any websites and counterfeit products, contact your local Trading Standards team.

 ENDS

 Media enquiries – contact

 ACG Communications Manager, Carol Levin

 01494 449165 / carol@a-cg.com

 NOTES TO EDITORS

Current Position

  • This year the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported over 4 billion Euros ($4.33 billion) worth of counterfeit drugs are sold across the world
  • Between 2014-2016, 96% of all customs seizures of counterfeit pharmaceuticals were of postal or express courier deliveries
  • During this crisis, the market has been flooded with fake surgical masks, emergency clothing, sanitisers, testing kits, thermometers, cleaning solutions, anti-bacterial wipes, indoor sports equipment, refrigeration appliances, and even bogus COVID-19 treatments. But general fraud, scams and cybercrimes are also on the up.

 

15 May 2020

Pandemic causes a surge in online crime

Criminals are taking advantage of the COVID19 pandemic by turning their attention to online crime. As lockdown continues, across the UK, there has been a drop in street crime of 21%. However, online crime, driven by predatory transnational gangs, is on the rise. This means that consumers and businesses are much more likely to be victims of fraud and dangerous counterfeited goods. The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), the UK’s leading anti-counterfeiting organisation, is urging people to be extra careful when they spend online.

Fake goods imported to the UK are worth over £13 billion and result in losses of £4 billion to the retail and wholesale sector. It is no surprise, that during this crisis, the market has been flooded with fake surgical masks, emergency clothing, sanitisers, testing kits, thermometers, cleaning solutions, anti-bacterial wipes, indoor sports equipment, refrigeration appliances, and even bogus COVID-19 treatments. But general fraud, scams and cybercrimes are also on the up.

Phil Lewis, Director General at the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) says, “Organised crime groups always follow the money and have no moral values. Predictably, they are now exploiting the fears and anxieties of consumers who are looking for ways to keep themselves and their families safe and well. The crisis has given these callous criminals even greater opportunity to feed their depraved activities, which often include child labour and trafficking in people, drugs and weapons. We are urging the consumer to think before they buy.”

During this difficult time, our enforcement authorities are even more stretched. Therefore, ACG is asking consumers and businesses to take responsibility themselves to ensure the fraudsters and counterfeiters are not given free rein to destroy our families, livelihoods, jobs, and vital public revenue, which could be used to fight the virus.

ACG warns, “The key is to think before you buy and provide any personal or banking information. Also, try and verify that what you are buying is from a dependable online retailer or a reliable source. Moreover, ignore random requests for money or bank transfers and even avoid opening any unexpected emails.”

In relation to counterfeit products, ACG believes that businesses need to maintain and develop more extensive measures to look after themselves. Criminals are stockpiling fake goods in readiness for the crisis to pass. Companies need strong and effective strategies to make sure their products and brands are safeguarded. It is vital to have people on the ground to ensure that wilful infringers and criminal counterfeiters are continuously kept at bay. Company brand protection teams will be a key to this, by identifying growing threats, supporting enforcement authorities on the ground and delivering essential plans for continuing brand protection. 

ENDS

Media enquiries – contact

 ACG Communications Manager, Carol Levin

 01494 449165 / carol@a-cg.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

Current Position

·         In 2019 the OECD and European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) reported that the global trade in fake goods is now worth $509 billion. 

·         Almost 7% of products imported into Europe are counterfeit. 

·         Fake goods imported to the UK are worth over £13 billion and result in losses of £4 billion to the retail and wholesale sector

·         EU customs revealed that over 37% of detained articles were potentially dangerous to the health and safety of consumers.

·         Operating behind sophisticated looking sales sites and using legitimate social media and e-commerce platforms, counterfeiters use fake trademarks, brands and certification labels to entice customers into thinking they are buying genuine, safe, products. 

 

8 April 2020

Not the time to reduce brand protection

As businesses struggle under the pressure of the current coronavirus emergency, they more than ever need their brand protection workforces to help protect consumers and their company’s vital assets. Criminal counterfeiters are in manufacturing overdrive and as we publish the ACG Annual Report 2019Director General for the Anti-Counterfeiting Group calls on business to be ready to meet the challenge. 

Phil Lewis, Director General at the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) today warned that criminals will be working overtime to manufacture and stockpile counterfeits, in readiness to market and sell their goods, once the current health crisis is over. Fears are that we will be facing an even wider range of substandard and dangerous fakes. He called on businesses to ensure they keep brand protection experts in play, to meet this impending threat.

On the day of the publication of the 2019 Annual Report for ACG, Phil explained: “As the counterfeiters’ are working hard to profit from the coronavirus pandemic, they will also be planning for the future. We need to be prepared and ahead of the game. It is vital to have experts on the ground, who can put plans in place to tackle criminal networks in the UK, but also understand the situation, systems and laws in countries where most of the counterfeits come from, such as China, Turkey and India.

 “Our Annual Report shows what brands can do when working in collaboration with ACG and enforcers. Together we are making a difference by tackling high level counterfeiting and preventing distribution on the ground and online, whilst advising governments and working in partnership to warn consumers about the growing risks of buying fake product.

“Shelving brand protection, now, simply hands the advantage to the criminals. We must  be seen to play our part, otherwise we could easily send the wrong message to Government and enforcement.”

The ACG Annual Report highlights the main areas of work for ACG over the last twelve months involving lobbying, enforcing and raising awareness. 

A copy of the Annual Report can be downloaded from the ACG website www.a-cg.org

ENDS

Media enquiries – contact 

ACG Communications Manager, Carol Levin
01494 449165 / carol@a-cg.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

Current Position

  •          In 2019 the OECD and European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) reported that the global trade in fake goods is now worth $509 billion. 
  •          Almost 7% of products imported into Europe are counterfeit. 
  •          Fake goods imported to the UK are worth over £13 billion and result in losses of £4 billion to the retail and wholesale sector.
  •          EU customs revealed that over 37% of detained articles were potentially dangerous to the health and safety of consumers.
  •          Operating behind sophisticated looking sales sites and using legitimate social media and e-commerce platforms, counterfeiters use fake trademarks, brands and certification labels to entice customers into thinking they are buying genuine, safe, products. 

 

About the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG)

  1.       The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) represents the voice of business in shaping an effective deterrent to counterfeiting in the UK. We help to steer effective policy, promote evidenced based actions, empower multi-agency partnerships and strengthen international collaboration. We have been working since 1980 to raise awareness of this serious organised crime.

 

For more information go to the ACG website https://www.a-cg.org/  and for a list of brands that are members of the ACG go to https://www.a-cg.org/membership/full-members 

 

2 April 2020

Online fraudsters exploit COVID-19 fears

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) and the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT), are urging consumers to take seriously the risks presented by the growing numbers of fake and ineffective cleaning solutions, anti-bacterial wipes, surgical masks and medicines being sold during the coronavirus pandemic.

Worldwide reports have indicated a surge in the availability and type of fake medical products intended to feed on the fears of consumers.

ACG’s product warning list includes surgical face masks, hand sanitisers, testing kits, thermometers, cleaning solutions, toilet paper, anti-bacterial wipes, indoor sports equipment, refrigeration appliances, food products, reading materials and alarmingly even Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin (a COVID-19 treatment).

The not-for-profit association is warning consumers and government of the current threat to both public health and efforts to stem COVID-19.

“The emergency response measures to help protect the public from COVID-19 must include the urgent need to protect them from fake, falsified and substandard medical products and medicines” stressed Director Generals at ACG, Phil Lewis and TRACIT, Jeffrey Hardy.

“Someone wearing a falsified or substandard surgical face mask is not only at risk of exposure, but it creates a false sense of security that can actually accelerate the spread to others.

ACG is asking for intensified action by the government, law enforcement, internet platforms and brand owners.

  • Government need to make a clear statement that “profiteering” is not the only concern in responding to fraud. Government need to allocate resource to block the distribution of fakes, warn consumers about the risks of fake and fraudulent products, especially online sales, and impose immediate sanctions on the manufacture and sale of fraudulent COVID-19 related products.
  • Law enforcement need to be alert to the threat and clamp down on the criminals involved, heighten vigilance for stolen, tampered and expired medical products and medicines, share intelligence and best practice and cooperate on cross-border investigations.
  • Internet eCommerce platforms must intensify the policing and takedown of online sales of counterfeit and fraudulent COVID-19 related products.
  • Brand owners need to increase security of supply chains for genuine COVID-19 related products and medicines, sharing data with law enforcement where supply chains have been compromised and raise awareness about online shopping fraud.

“The expectations are that the availability of these products on the Internet will increase dramatically, especially with the closure of retail stores and the imposition of social distancing. People must be especially careful when ordering online from websites, e-commerce platforms and social media where outright fraud and advertising of fakes is already a major problem” commented Phil

ACG and TRACIT have expressed concern that the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgent need for a strong international approach to combating the illicit trade of counterfeit medical products and medicines.

Phil and Jeff Hardy forewarn that “Once we get past this crisis, we’ll need to double our efforts to prevent counterfeiting. Starting with stronger provisions for preventing the availability of illicit products online and stronger measures to keep illicit pharmaceuticals out of the physical supply chain, including postal and express carrier infrastructures.” 

END

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) represents the voice of business in shaping an effective deterrent to counterfeiting in the UK. We help to steer effective policy, promote evidenced based actions, empower multi-agency partnerships and strengthen international collaboration. We have been working since 1980 to raise awareness of this serious organised crime  

Contact:

Carol Levin, Communications Manager
Anti-Counterfeiting Group
T: 01494 449165
E: admin@a-cg.com
W: www.a-cg.org
Twitter: @The_ACG

 

  1. The Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT) is an independent, private sector initiative to mitigate the economic and social damages of illicit trade by strengthening government enforcement mechanisms and mobilizing businesses across industry sectors most impacted by illicit trade.

Contact:

Cindy Braddon, Head of Communications and Public Policy,
TRACIT
T: +1 571-365-6885
E: cindy.braddon@TRACIT.org
W: http://www.tracit.org/
Twitter: @TRACIT_org

 

This effort was produced in collaboration UK Anti-Counterfeiting Group (https://www.a-cg.org/), The Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT) and  Elipe Global,  a leader in strategic government relations, corporate affairs and communications services (https://www.elipe-global.com/index.html

 


30 March 2020

Fraudsters strike during the coronavirus pandemic

Fraudsters are always on the lookout for new opportunities to take advantage of consumers, whatever the circumstances and this time of emergency is no exception. 

As consumers and businesses isolate themselves to avoid the threat of contracting coronavirus, we naturally look at other ways to get essential products.

Consumers and businesses need to be aware that counterfeiters will stop at nothing to get their cheap and potentially dangerous goods to vulnerable people. Hiding behind sophisticated sites and through legitimate retail and auction platforms they use fake trademarks and certification labels to trick people into paying for products that could heighten current threats to their health and safety. 

What should you do?

Trading Standards’ advice is to ignore all online adverts or cold callers offering home testing kits or products/supplements, which claim they prevent or cure coronavirus. They are fake and potentially dangerous.

Look out for

  • Homemade hand sanitisersThe Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CPTA) has urged people not to use homemade hand sanitisers.
  • Products advertised online, which claim to cure or prevent coronavirus Last week police charged a man for selling fake 'treatment kits', which included mouthwash containing harmful chemicals.
  • Temperature thermometer guns Sold on a range of well-known auction sites, as being able to monitor body/head temperatures. They are not for medical use. They intended for engineering use and the laser should never be aimed at eyes.

What should you do?

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group warns the public to be very cautious whenever buying products online. 

  1. Check who you are buying from. If you’re online remember that over 83% of fakes come from China. So, if the web site or shipping address looks to be in China or Hong Kong take extra care.
  2. Look closely at the photos of products and the packaging.
  3. Don’t be too quick in committing your money. Check the price of the product against other sites and ask friends and family for advice, but if you decide to go ahead use your credit card to make the purchase.


 “The anonymity the internet offers is an advantage to criminals. They can operate easily behind sophisticated looking websites, using fake trademarks, brands and emblems and even bogus certification labels to entice shoppers into thinking they are buying genuine, safe, products.

“The reality is, of course, that consumers can often end up with nothing more that cheap tat and increasingly dangerous goods. According to Customs authorities across Europe, over 37% of fakes picked up at our borders are now dangerous to consumers” explained Phil Lewis, Director General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group.

For consumer advice on how to avoid being caught out online visit the Anti-Counterfeiting Group website https://www.a-cg.org/consumer-advice

For the latest health information and advice about the coronavirus visit the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

Ends

Contact information
Anti-Counterfeiting Group 
T: 01494 449165
E: admin@a-cg.com 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) represents the voice of business in shaping an effective deterrent to counterfeiting in the UK. We help to steer effective policy, promote evidenced based actions, empower multi-agency partnerships and strengthen international collaboration. We have been working since 1980 to raise awareness of this serious organised crime https://www.a-cg.org/

19 February 2020

Trump's new executive order targets counterfeit goods

On Friday 31 January, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at “ensuring safe and lawful e-commerce for U.S. consumers, business, government supply chains, and intellectual property rights.”

The order noted that e-commerce, is being exploited by traffickers to introduce smaller express-carrier or international mail packages of contraband products into the United States. Moreover, the e-commerce system is also being used by foreign exporters and US importers to avoid customs duties, taxes, and fees.

As a result, the order, instructed the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) to draw up specific rules to help identify companies that have been suspended from importing products into the United States and have then worked to evade the suspensions.

In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been directed to review its “Importer Records Program” and to take steps to ensure that importers who have been suspended are not able to re-establish business activities, by changing their name or address details.

Rules will also be issued to establish the criteria that importers must meet to obtain an “importer record number”. Moreover, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is obligated to develop an international metric that will measure international/foreign postal carriers’ efforts to prevent shipments of counterfeit products from entering the US.
 
This metric will be introduced following consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the United States Postal Service (USPS) and will gauge rates of counterfeit goods, narcotics and other contraband, trafficked through international/foreign postal services. Furthermore, it will record the effectiveness of such postal services in reducing trafficking, including their cooperation with CBP, and any other relevant factors determined by the CBP Commissioner.  Any postal service that doesn’t meet the minimum requirements and has high rates of contraband shipments may be banned from delivering to the United States,

Alongside this President Trump has made intellectual property protection and enforcement a priority in America’s trade relationships. As an example, IP rights are a prominent part of the new North American trade agreement and are evident in the first phase of the U.S.-China trade agreement.

Phil Lewis, Director General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) commented “ACG is encouraged that the US is taking such a strong line in helping to ensure that vital e-commerce supply chains and the businesses and consumers they serve, are more safe and secure. The global trade in counterfeit goods is now worth over $509 billion and 34% of articles seized at EU borders are a danger to buyers. 

"President Trump is ensuring that intellectual property protection and enforcement against counterfeit products is a priority and we hope that this will also be a priority in future UK trade deals.”

Ends

Contact information
Anti-Counterfeiting Group 
T: 01494 449165
E: admin@a-cg.com 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) represents the voice of business in shaping an effective deterrent to counterfeiting in the UK. We help to steer effective policy, promote evidenced based actions, empower multi-agency partnerships and strengthen international collaboration. We have been working since 1980 to raise awareness of this serious organised crime https://www.a-cg.org/

21 November 2019

If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is!

It won’t be long before its Black Friday and Cyber Monday and UK shoppers are once again chasing down the best deals for Christmas.

Last year online sales were up by 46%, which suggests that more and more shoppers will be getting involved and forecasts reveal that UK Shoppers are likely to spend more than £2 billion on 29th November and over £8 billion, in total, by the end of Cyber Monday.

But once again we need to be aware that we are not the only ones to recognise the benefits and profits to be made from Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.  Those looking for bargains need to be very alert, when they shop, as international gangs of counterfeiters and pirates are out looking for your hard-earned cash and will want to give you nothing in return.

Shopping extravaganzas are irresistible for “fakers” and they know we may be very likely to take a chance. They also know that they can use a variety of channels to get to us. The internet is of a preferred means as it gives them direct access.

The anonymity the internet offers is such an advantage to criminals. They can operate easily behind sophisticated looking sales sites, using fake trademarks, brands and emblems and even bogus certification labels to entice shoppers into thinking they are buying genuine, safe, products. The reality is, of course, that consumers can often end up with nothing more that cheap tat and increasingly dangerous goods. According to Customs authorities across Europe, over 37% of fakes picked up at our borders are now dangerous to consumers.

But this sick trade brings other threats, as criminals continually work to steal our personal details and banking information. We need to be aware that 25% of UK consumers have been attacked during these sales periods and given access to our data, the criminals will then use our money to fund other menacing crimes, such as drug trafficking, money laundering and child exploitation. 

ACG understand that 30 % of all UK consumers will shop during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales period and it is vital that they are very watchful about any dubious offers.  “Which” has put together a useful guide for shoppers to help protect themselves and Citizens Advice has joined the cause.  Citizen’s Advice reports that almost half a million consumer-related issues were dealt with last year many of these related to undelivered parcels and fake goods and over 50,000 of these were in November 2018.

What does ACG say?

Firstly, check who you are buying from. If you’re in the high street, go to a reputable store. If you’re online remember that over 83% of fakes come from China. So, if the web site or shipping address looks to be in China or Hong Kong take extra care.

Don’t be too quick in committing your money. Check the price of the product against other sites. You may even get the same deal from the original manufacturers.

Once again If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is!

If you are shopping, we hope you get real bargains but please don’t let criminals get near you. Take extra care! 

For tips on how to avoid being caught out this Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend go to https://www.a-cg.org/consumer-advice  

Ends

Contact information
Anti-Counterfeiting Group
T: 01494 449165
E: admin@a-cg.com

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) represents the voice of business in shaping an effective deterrent to counterfeiting in the UK. We help to steer effective policy, promote evidenced based actions, empower multi-agency partnerships and strengthen international collaboration. We have been working since 1980 to raise awareness of this serious organised crime https://www.a-cg.org/

12 June 2019

ACG announce award winners for excellence in anti-counterfeiting

The CTSI Symposium in Brighton was the event that the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) used to announce the 2019 winners of its Awards for Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting.

The awards were originally introduced in 1994 to thank enforcement for its support and recognise significant enforcement activity in the fight against counterfeiting. Candidates are nominated by their peers and ACG members voted for their worthy winners.

The awards fall into five categories and the winners are:

Dave Hankinson Memorial Award for Individual Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting Enforcement

Winner: Lynn Foster – Highland Council Trading Standards
Lynn is IP lead for Highland Trading Standards Service and member of the North of Scotland Partnership (IP Group). She mentors other neighbouring authorities in lead projects such as Operation Jasper and Sapphire and has recently secured an enforcement order against a seller regularly transporting large amounts of fake designer goods from Turkey.  Lynn has also organised local events to inform and educate the public on the harms of buying fakes. 

Highly Commended: Anne Marie Spalding – North Lanarkshire Council Trading Standards
Anne Marie has gone exceeded in her anti-counterfeiting efforts over the past six years. She has worked tirelessly to develop a joint effort between North and South Lanarkshire Trading Standard Service and Police Scotland. As an original member of the 2014 joint Trading Standards and Police team, she is involved in Operation Bichon which tackles the rise in counterfeits prior to Christmas.

Highly Commended: Dennis Chalmers – Stockport Trading Standards
Proved to be a fantastic subject matter expert, Dennis advises on many investigations and always goes above and beyond in the level of detail and guidance provided.Dennis has been actively improving IP crime intelligence between Trading Standards, the Police and other enforcement bodies. Enabling improved intelligence and mapping of organised crime groups in the North West.

Departmental Award for Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting Enforcement

Winner: Trading Standards Scotland
For developing and establishing current intelligence streams, providing evidence of direct importation and identifying a high level if criminally that resulted in large quantities of fake goods being seized worth in excess of £68,000.

Highly Commended: London Borough of Enfield Trading Standards
Targeted resources at town centres and markets due to the proliferation of counterfeit goods . Jewellers were targeted when it became apparent that 14 carat gold was being used in car brands, sports and fashion brands. Over 510 items of jewellery were seized. Enfield Trading Standards is now feeding into the intelligence picture through regional and strategic assessment collection data to drive future regional and national work streams. Working with agencies including the police, HMRC and the illegal money lending team.

Highly Commended: West Yorkshire Trading Standards
A two year investigation followed into an industrial-scale screen printing operation in Bradford which the registered trademarks were illegally printed onto clothing and distributed globally via eBay and Amazon. West Yorkshire Trading Standards put a stop to this eBay and Amazon business that generated global counterfeit sales of £472,898.09 over a five year period.

Highly Commended: Dorset Council Trading Standards
Dorset Council Trading Standards began an investigation in 2015 which ballooned into a full-scale counterfeit, fraud and money laundering operation. It lasted for three years and eventually in 2018 produced in a successful outcome. Trading Standards officers investigated a couple selling fraudulently signed Premier league football shirts, footballs and boots to online customers around the world. Investigators established that the couple made more than £1.8m, over a nine-year period. The investigation was unprecedented and one of the largest frauds ever taken on by Trading Standards.

Special Commendation Award for Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting Enforcement
Awarded to:
Greater Manchester Police
Border Force at Felixstowe Port
Colin Chamberlain – Greater Manchester Police
Scamp, Tobacco Detection Dog – BWY Canine

Special ACG Achievement Award for Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting Enforcement
Awarded to:
Tina Gibbons, Greenwich Trading Standards
OP BEORMA – Birmingham TS, CENTSA Regional Investigation Team and NTSIT
Ealing TS with special mention to Mohammed Tariq, Brian Gohery and Peter Clarke
PSNI Belfast Review Team

Phil Lewis, ACG Director General commented “This is some of the very best enforcement work and we celebrate the success of these individuals and teams from across Trading Standards, Police, Border Force and other enforcement agencies.”

Ends

If you require further information please contact the Anti-Counterfeiting Group

T: 01494 449165      E: admin@a-cg.com

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Individual Award for Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting is dedicated to a dear friend and colleague, Dave Hankinson of the Ford Motor Company. Dave sadly died of cancer in summer 2006. With the permission of his widow and grateful thanks to Ford for so generously sponsoring it, we have a special cup which is engraved each year with the name of the winner.
  2. The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) represents the voice of business in shaping an effective deterrent to counterfeiting in the UK. We help to steer effective policy, promote evidenced based actions, empower multi-agency partnerships and strengthen international collaboration. We have been working since 1980 to raise awareness of this serious organised crime. 

24 December 2018

Counterfeits Destroy the High Street

Christmas and the holiday sales are upon us and the Anti-Counterfeiting Group is warning shoppers to continue to be aware about the deluge of fake products that will be on offer. Many of the traditional fakes we have come to know will be up for sale including; fashion accessories, watches and sports goods. However, more menacing products will also appear. These are likely to be cosmetics, perfumes, electronic goods, hairdryers and straighteners, and of course toys and fake alcohol.

But it's not only traditional markets and sales points we need to be cautious about. Criminals are increasingly using sophisticated websites to sell their fakes and buying from these sites can also lead to them gaining access to our bank details. 

Phil Lewis Director General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group commented “counterfeiting is destroying our high streets, jobs and the economy. Putting money into criminal hands is also depriving us of £1.3 billion in unpaid taxes, which could be used to support vital public services including the NHS.” 

Let's be extra careful this holiday time and ensure we don't bring criminals closer to our doors.

Ends

Contact information:
Carol Levin

T: 01494 449165
E: admin@a-cg.com

Notes to Editors:

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is a not-for-profit trade association which represents rights holders in the branded goods sectors. It is a unique forum for stakeholders in the anti-counterfeiting field to collaborate and support each other – from brand owners through specialist service providers, to the law enforcement agencies which are responsible for enforcing the criminal provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1994.


ACG warn consumers about buying fakes during Black Friday and Cyber Monday

19 November 2018: Everyone loves a bargain and Black Friday and Cyber Monday mean UK shoppers are on the look-out for some prize deals before Christmas.

Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are continually growing in popularity in the UK. According to the most recent figures the amount spent with UK online retail sites last year was almost £1.4bn.  Reports also showed that Cyber Monday actually surpassed Black Friday, with over £3 billion being spent by UK shoppers.

Overall the results revealed the biggest ever day for both online and offline spending.

However, we are not the only ones to recognise the benefits of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Organised international networks of counterfeiters and pirates are on the prowl and looking for our hard earned cash.

Counterfeiters and pirates find the Internet irresistible. They like the access it gives them to businesses and consumers across the world and even more, they love the anonymity it offers. Operating behind sophisticated looking sales sites, they use fake trademarks, brands and emblems and bogus certification labels to entice customers into thinking they are buying genuine, safe, products.  Unfortunately, the reality is quite different as the fakers end up shipping us nothing more than shoddy, sub-standard and, increasingly, dangerous goods. Over 30% of fake good detained by customs last year had the potential to endanger consumers. Alongside this they are looking for our bank details, to use our money to help support this insidious crime, which in turn feeds people and drug trafficking, money laundering and child exploitation.

So what can we do to protect ourselves? Firstly we need to check who we are buying from. If you’re on foot go to a reputable store. If you’re online remember that over 80% of fakes come from China. So if the shipping address looks to be in China or Hong Kong take extra special care. Then don’t be too hasty, check the price of the product against other sites. You may even get the same deal from the original manufacturers. Finally, the old adage still rings true if the price looks too good to be true it probably is.

Enjoy yourselves, on this weekend but don’t let criminals dupe you into buying something you’ll regret. 

For tips on how to avoid being caught out this Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend go to https://www.a-cg.org/consumer-advice

Ends

Contact information
Anti-Counterfeiting Group
T: 01494 449165

E: admin@a-cg.com

Notes to Editors:

    1. The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) represents the voice of business in shaping an effective deterrent to counterfeiting in the UK. We help to steer effective policy, promote evidenced based actions, empower multi-agency partnerships and strengthen international collaboration. We have been working since 1980 to raise awareness of this serious organised crime.

 

29 July 2018

ACG announce Phil Lewis as new Director General

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is delighted to announce the appointment of Phil Lewis as its new Director General, effective 29 July 2018.

Phil has been a key member of ACG since 2014 and will take over from Alison Statham, who has led the group with distinction for 13 years. Alison has succeeded in moving ACG forward to its current position as one of the most active and highly respected stakeholders in the fight against counterfeiting.

Reflecting on his appointment, Phil said: “I am honoured and excited to have been selected to lead ACG.

“We have a wide membership base, a solid reputation and a winning strategy that has enabled us to grow strongly. Building further on our success is a challenge I accept with confidence, determination and fierce ambition. I am passionately committed to placing the brands and consumer safety at the centre of everything we do.”

Phil joined the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in 2001 as Senior Policy Advisor on Intellectual Property Crime and was responsible for developing and leading on the UK’s first National IP Crime Strategy.

Later in 2008, he became Senior National Expert at the European Commission, where he helped develop the Commission’s strategy against counterfeiting and piracy. During this time he also conceived and developed the EU Observatory on IP Infringements of IP Rights. The Observatory has become the pivotal European network of experts engaged in shaping more effective IP enforcement policies and strategies.

Since joining ACG in 2014 as Policy & Strategy Adviser, Phil has developed the ACG Manifesto and been at the forefront of ACG lobbying in the UK and Europe, ensuring ACG has had a voice at major meetings and events including at the recent Europol IP Conference in Budapest. 

Phil is a highly respected and regarded IP enforcement professional. 

Ends


If you require further information please contact the Anti-Counterfeiting Group
T: 01494 449165
E: admin@a-cg.com

Notes to Editors:

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property (IP) rights including patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights develops tools and promotes best practice to enhance protection of this critical asset for companies and individuals.

The European Observatory (hosted by EUIPO) provides accurate, impartial and verifiable information to help safeguard Europe's knowledge and competitive edge in the global marketplace.

ACG Manifesto is available here


Tuesday 26 June 2018

Multi-agency raid at market seizes £100,000 worth of counterfeit goods

On Sunday 24 June 2018, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) and its members joined forces with officers from; the Metropolitan Police, Wandsworth Trading Standards, Immigration Service, London Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART) and London Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) to conduct raid actions at 10 stalls operating at Nine Elms Market, Wandsworth seizing thousands of counterfeit goods with a street value of over £100,000.

The action was conducted as part of the National Markets Group’s (NMG) Operation BIG BEN which aims to work with law enforcement agencies and market operators to reduce the availability of counterfeit goods at markets and car boot sales across the UK.

The raid action was coordinated by the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) London region following intelligence and evidence collected by ACG and its member representatives over several months.

The products seized included; counterfeit clothing, footwear, designer handbags and accessories, watches, jewellery, batteries, chargers and perfume, many of which are potentially unsafe and place shoppers at risk from serious injury.

GAIN for London Region spokesperson said, "Working in partnership, sharing intelligence lawfully and efficiently, the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) and police colleagues aim to ensure that government agencies, along with law enforcement will help reduce serious and organised crime, in the most cost effective way.  We cannot tolerate or allow criminals to profit, to the detriment of hard working people or companies.  GAIN and Police are committed to the multi-agency approach and will continue to work in partnership, to tackle copyright related crime. This action today is an excellent example of adopting a multi-agency approach."

Graham Mogg, ACG’s Intelligence Coordinator and Chair of the NMG said "The wholesale distribution of counterfeit goods at markets such as Nine Elms undermines legitimate businesses including ACG members and other brands, as well as making it virtually impossible for stall holders to compete with the low prices offered by the counterfeiters.

“The sale of counterfeit and pirated goods is a criminal offence, carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and evidence shows that the funds raised from this activity, supports other organised crime and terrorism. As a GAIN partner we value their support and that of the other partners involved in this action.

“We will continue to work alongside the market operator to ensure that Nine Elms market becomes fake-free.’’

Ends

If you require further information please contact the Anti-Counterfeiting Group
T: 01494 449165
E: admin@a-cg.com

Notes to Editors:

The National Markets Group was established in 2008 to provide a forum for a national, co-ordinated, cross-sector approach to tackle the trade in counterfeit goods at markets and car boot fairs http://www.realdealmarkets.co.uk/about/101-2/


Wednesday 6 June 2018

EUIPO Launch Synthesis Report on IPR Infringements

The European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has produced a “synthesis” report, which brings together findings of research carried out since 2013, on the scope, scale and consequences of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringements in the European Union (EU).

The report ties together substantial work carried out by the EUIPO’s EU Observatory, in conjunction with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to provide an up-to-date and coherent view of the state of intellectual property (IP) rights and IP infringements. To do this it includes; data on the value of IP to EU economies, the overall level of infringements in the EU, public perceptions and actual actions being taken to combat counterfeiting and piracy.

Key findings are that the total contribution of IPR-intensive industries to the EU economy accounts for approximately 42 % of GDP (EUR 5.7 trillion) and 38 % of employment. IP sectors also pay higher scales of salaries and generate a trade surplus of approximately EUR 96 billion.

The report estimates that every year this success is being hugely challenged by IP infringements. In a series of sectorial studies EUIPO has estimated that counterfeiting alone, has led to lost sales of EUR 100 billion per year in just 13 business sectors.

The growing value and breadth of products being counterfeited, lenient sentences and high returns on investment have become strong incentives for criminal gangs to become more and more involved in counterfeiting. The report highlights criminal business models and identifies how organised crime networks are using a broader range of complex international supply chains. These include the use of the internet to promote and distribute physical goods and illegal digital content across the world.

Internet sites and social media are being increasingly used to provide additional benefits to criminals, from advertising revenue. This adds to the dilemma facing genuine brands and legitimate websites, which find their reputations and credibility being extensively damaged.

In addition to analysing the supply of counterfeit goods and pirated products, the EUIPO has also studied the demand side. This work has included an in-depth study on the attitudes of EU consumers and their willingness to engage and purchase fake goods and content. The results reveal that key reasons for citizens to buy and access infringing products are; lower prices of counterfeit goods and a perception that illicit online content is more available and easy to access.

Finally, the report highlights key actions being taken to protect and enforce IP rights. This underlines work being carried out by a huge range of rights owners and the EUIPO’s growing partnership with Europol, to provide wider responses to IP crime. It also outlines wider policy work being carried out by the European Commission to “follow the money” being accumulated by criminals, and its continuing efforts to address the supply of counterfeit goods in third countries.

Alison Statham, ACG Director General welcomed this report, which brings much needed attention to the whole scope, scale and effect of this sinister, growing and comparatively disregarded form of criminality.

“The damage being done to our local and national economies is huge. Massive amounts of money, which could be used for vital public services, are being diverted into criminal hands and much of this is being used to support and promote other forms of exploitative crimes such as; child labour and the trafficking of human beings, drugs and weapons. In addition, fakes are becoming ever more dangerous and consumers need to be in no doubt that buying cheap does not mean buying safe. EU Customs have confirmed that over 30% of fakes coming to the EU have the potential to damage health and safety.

 “The EUIPO report clearly shows that organised crime networks are getting stronger and more professional in their use of counterfeit and pirated goods. Using independent reports such as this, ACG will continue to bring the escalating dangers associated with counterfeiting and piracy to the attention of business leaders and policy-makers as they prepare to develop new trade deals. However, the vital information on criminal business models will also help to develop enforcement related strategies and we will use this to provide added information and support to our precious enforcement resources to ensure the UK economy, businesses and consumers are more safe and secure.”


Ends

EUIPO synthesis report on IPR infringements (summary and full reports) here

The EUIPO is a decentralised agency of the EU, based in Alicante, Spain. It manages the registration of the European Union trade mark (EUTM) and the registered Community design (RCD), both of which provide intellectual property protection in all EU Member States. The EUIPO also carries out cooperation activities with the national and regional Intellectual Property offices of the EU.

The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights was established in 2009 to support the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and to help combat the growing threat of intellectual property infringements in Europe. It was transferred to the EUIPO on 5 June 2012 by Regulation (EU) No 386/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

The European Commission is an institution of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 37 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.


Wednesday 6 June 2018

ACG announces award winners

Today, World Anti-Counterfeiting Day, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) has announced the winners of this year’s ACG Awards for Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting.

The awards were introduced by ACGin 1994 in order to recognise some of excellent enforcement work that is happening in the fight against the trade in counterfeit goods. Candidates are nominated for three different categories; individual, department and special commendation and an awards panel of ACG members determine the worthy winners.

Alison Statham, ACG Director General, commented:

“Tens of thousands of counterfeit goods including; electrical products such as chargers and batteries, household goods, toys, luxury goods and accessories are entering the UK every year. Enforcement bodies have demonstrated some of the very best enforcement work in tackling this illicit crime and ACG want to celebrate those individuals and teams involved. Congratulations to our worthy winners, who represent Trading Standards, Police, Border Force, HMRC and other enforcement agencies in England, Wales, Scotland

About ACG

ACG represents more than 3,000 brands affected by this influx of fakes into the UK and delivers an international network of information, advice and contacts on all aspects of IP protection. Working with Government and law enforcement agencies since 1980, ACG is focused on providing an effective and sustained response to counterfeiting.

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Membership with the ACG is the best way to work with government and enforcement bodies to protect your brand. Our Roadshows and training days help you reach out to police, trading standards and border force officers and tell them about your genuine products.

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