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Which? Reports that Scams Rocket by 33% During Pandemic

23 July 2021

Which?, the UK’s major consumer champion, has released a worrying new report confirming how scams soared, between April 2020 and March 2021 and that UK consumers have suffered over £2 billion in losses.

According to Which?, a 65% rise means that online shopping fraud is now a major concern. The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) has reported that sales of counterfeit goods have played a huge part in threatening consumers and further damaging the economy and jobs. Phil Lewis, Director General of the ACG confirms that “as more consumers looked to protect themselves during the height of the pandemic, by further shopping online, international counterfeiting criminals moved in. Selling everything from counterfeit day to day, household goods to fake medicines these predators have once again shown how low they will stoop to make profit at anyone’s expense”.

ACG supports all efforts to raise awareness about this increasingly dangerous area of crime and Phil Lewis warns that “Consumers have never been at more risk from dangerous counterfeits and associated criminality such as credit card and identity fraud. The message is that people need to very careful when buying online and should only use reputable websites and e-commerce businesses”.

They should:

  • Trust their instincts, if it sounds too good to be true then the chances are that the item is fake. Be suspicious of deeply discounted price.
  • Stick to reputable and trusted traders.
  • Online fraudsters replicate the look and feel of an authentic brand’s official website. Just because a site ends with co.uk does not mean that the seller is based in the UK. Many counterfeit and fraudulent sites are set up overseas, so it’s worth checking the spelling and grammar on websites.
  • If there no address is supplied or if there is just a PO Box or email, consumers should be suspicious. Copy and paste the web address to this website https://whois.domaintools.com/ to check where the lender is really located.
  • If you have not bought from the seller before, do your research and check for online reviews. But look out for fake reviews. If there have been a lot of positive reviews within a few days, then this can indicate that the fraudsters are pushing their own.
  • Look out for poor spelling, grammar, and staged user photos. People will often use forums and blogs to warn of fake sites so it’s worth reading these.
  • Ensure the website address begins ‘https’ at the payment stage – this indicates a secure payment. Also look for a highlighted lock symbol in your web browser.
  • Be extremely suspicious if asked to send any payment abroad by any money transfer system.
  • Look out for details of a returns policy, rogue traders do not offer customer service. Look at the "contact us" section, if there is no physical address or working phone number, beware.

 

 Read the full Which? - Scams Rocket by 33% During Pandemic Article here 

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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