ONLINE shoppers have been warned to look out for counterfeit products ahead of Black Friday.
Instagram has removed hundreds of suspected counterfeit products from the site in a joint effort with Trading Standards.
Prohibited goods included phone accessories, potentially dangerous chargers, cheap clothing, jewellery, tobacco, car parts and copyrighted photographs.
More than a quarter of UK shoppers are considering or planning to buy counterfeit products this year, according to a survey.
According to the survey, electrical devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptops and accessories such as chargers and headphones are among the most frequently purchased by consumers looking for counterfeit items this year.
But Trading Standards warned they could be of poor quality and “incredibly dangerous”.
“Removing counterfeit goods from Instagram means families are safer this Christmas,” said Mike Andrews, national coordinator of the National Trading Standards eCrime team.
“Buying counterfeits can seem like a harmless way to get what you want for less, but counterfeiting is not a victimless crime.
“Besides being of poor quality, counterfeit electronics can pose a fire hazard, while copycat toys can kill children because criminals don’t care about safety standards.”
Previous research by charity Electrical Safety First found that 98 percent of counterfeit Apple chargers failed safety tests.
Just this week, an unofficial charger sold on Amazon was recalled after it caused a fire.
This is how you avoid falling for fake products
Experts advise you to check the seller – find out if he is official and has a return policy.
Look for reviews—not influencer endorsements.
Always be aware that retailers require payment via bank transfer.
Well-known credit card providers such as Visa or Mastercard and services such as PayPal offer buyers protection if the goods do not arrive or turn out to be counterfeit.
Look out for telltale signs like misspellings in the description — and even on the product itself.
Check that the item has EU and UK safety markings.
And think twice if the price is much cheaper than elsewhere because it’s probably too good to be true.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9786258/black-friday-counterfeit-scams-instagram/ Warning to millions of iPhone and Android owners – costly Black Friday threat exposed