5 tips to stay safe online


The Intellectual Property Office (Initial Public Offering) today released a list of 5 tips to help consumers stay safe while shopping on social media platforms. This is a new study released today by the Initial Public Offering reveals that deviant social media influencers can exert significant influence over purchasing decisions, prompting 10% of respondents to buy counterfeit products across a wide range of products.

The study shows that 17% of the participants were “known buyers” of counterfeits. Of these, around 70% were between the ages of 16 and 33, generating more than three-quarters (77%) of the demand for these illicit goods. More than half of the demand (53%) was generated by “regular buyers”.

Social media counterfeiters often use well-known brand names to attract consumers. In addition to being illegal, counterfeit goods are often dangerous. Intelligence also shows that the proceeds can be used to help fund serious and organized crime.

According to the study, the most popular categories of illicit products were fashion, accessories, jewelry and cosmetics.

Operation MONTY, a collaborative application campaign coordinated by the National Markets Group to IP Counterfeit, 450 Instagram Trader accounts – hosting more than 15,000 lists of counterfeit products – were deleted within 2 days in November. These dishonest sellers offered products such as clothing, shoes, tobacco, electrical appliances, bags, jewelry, cosmetics, perfumes, electrical appliances, phone accessories and copyrighted photographs. .

To help consumers stay safe online and know how to spot a fake, the Initial Public Offering advises consumers to consider the following:

1) The seller. Do they look official? Have you ever purchased from this seller, is the website or platform well known? Does the seller have a return policy? When in doubt, look for an appropriate online review, not just influencer recommendations to buy the item.

2) Make payments. Always beware of retailers who require payment to be made by wire transfer. Well-known credit card providers like Visa or Mastercard, and services like PayPal offer protection to buyers if the goods do not arrive or are found to be counterfeit.

3) Your instincts. Always trust your instincts. Does the offered item look like a genuine product? Counterfeit sellers often make spelling mistakes in their descriptions and sometimes on the products themselves, which is an obvious warning sign. Spelling and grammar mistakes can indicate counterfeits!

4) Safety markings. Security standards for counterfeit items are poor and can be dangerous, especially when shipped from overseas. Do the items – especially toys – carry EU and UK safety markings? You should always check for age restrictions and hazard warnings on the packaging.

5) The price. Whether you buy online or in person, always think about the price. Scammers often sell counterfeit products at discounted prices to let your guard down. If the item is significantly cheaper than expected, that’s a good reason for the alarm bells to ring. If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

the Initial Public OfferingTim Moss chief executive said:

We want to help online shoppers feel safe, so we’ve put together some simple tips on what to look out for and how to spot a fake. Criminal networks target online platforms to trick consumers into buying counterfeit products. It undermines legitimate sellers and causes damage to individuals and communities.

We are very happy to have supported Operation Monty as we continue to work with our partner organizations to raise awareness of these issues and disrupt IP criminality.

The publication of Initial Public OfferingThe research of and recent multi-agency action has been hailed by the Anti-Counterfeting Group, a nonprofit trade association that strives to provide a collaborative response to counterfeiting.

Anti-Counterfeiting Group CEO Phil Lewis said:

The growing trend of online shopping has not gone unnoticed by criminals who sell counterfeit products and view reckless social media influencers as a major opportunity to sell dangerous and illegal counterfeit products. Almost all fakes contain dangerous toxins, mechanisms or additives, and consumers should always think about the dangers, before purchasing even the most harmless fakes.

Recent operational partnerships have eliminated nearly 500 illicit traders and tens of thousands of counterfeit lists, helping to disrupt transnational crime and protect consumers, businesses and jobs. Remember – if a chord sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is – and just might come with a very nasty and dangerous sting in the tail.

Notes to editor:

  • the Initial Public Offering commissioned several research studies on topics related to infringement of intellectual property rights. In addition to the social media influencer research mentioned above, these include the longtime online copyright infringement tracker and the physical property tracker reports. The 3 research and additional information are published on GOV.UK

  • Last year’s Physical Goods Tracking Report found that a major factor in purchasing counterfeit goods was the perceived quality of counterfeit goods. This, along with anecdotal reports from the social media influencer industry (PMI) the approval and promotion of counterfeit products, led to the commissioning of a pilot study to examine the effect of approvals of PMI on counterfeit buying habits

  • the pilot study of SMI The purpose of approving counterfeit products is to understand the effect of these approvals on general counterfeit purchasing behavior. This study focused on the main audience of these complicit influencers, women aged 18 to 64. The aim of this study was to provide the first levels of understanding on the levels, mechanisms and potential risk factors for these counterfeit endorsements.

  • Operation MONTY was a collaborative application campaign coordinated by the National Markets Group to IP protection. The National Market Group for IP protection (NMG) was established in 2008 to provide a forum for a national, coordinated and cross-sectoral approach to tackling trade in counterfeit and pirated goods. Members include law enforcement, industry and government agencies that work collaboratively to reduce the threat to legitimate businesses and consumers of IP criminality. The transaction included contributions from Meta Platforms, Inc. (Meta), the UK Intellectual Property Office Intelligence Center, the National Trading Standards e-Crime team and the Trading Standards authorities. .

  • the anti-counterfeiting group (ACG) is a non-profit trade association that works with UK, EU and international governments and law enforcement agencies to provide a collaborative response to counterfeiting. More information on the ACG and his work can be found on the ACG website

  • the Initial Public Offering will release a comprehensive infringement strategy in early 2022 that will establish an innovative new framework through which government, law enforcement and industry will come together to fight IP crime and counterfeiting. The strategy examines how we can work more effectively with our partners, both at home and abroad. Empowerment of consumers also plays an important role. We want to make sure consumers are informed and understand the impacts and risks of counterfeiting


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