WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- As millions of consumers begin their holiday shopping, they are likely to come across counterfeit products online. Through a joint effort, the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) and Crime Stoppers International (CSI) are issuing tips to help consumers identify fake goods and offering resources to help them report the crime.
Consumers are expected to spend 4.1 percent more than last year during the winter holidays,1 and more of their purchases are taking place online. Counterfeiters will use this opportunity to take advantage of shoppers who are hoping to find the perfect gift for a loved one.
"Counterfeiters hide behind the anonymity of the Internet, often posing as a legitimate merchant on a popular online marketplace or setting up a website that looks nearly identical to a brand's website," warned IACC President Bob Barchiesi. "This is a serious problem because they are selling products that are often made with dangerous material, such as lead in children's toys or arsenic in beauty products."
Counterfeiters duplicate popular gift items such as toys, electronics, cosmetics, footwear and apparel. Because they do not follow industry guidelines, counterfeiters manufacture products with cheap, substandard and dangerous components. This can cause serious harm to people who come into contact with them.
To help consumers identify fakes, the IACC and CSI recommend following the "3Ps" rule. Consumers should look at:
- Price. If the price is too good to be true, then it is most likely a counterfeit.
- Packaging. Stay away from products that are shipped without packaging or are packaged poorly. If it does come in a package, look out for misspellings, blurry logos or smudged ink.
- Place. Be wary of which sites you shop from. Fake websites are designed to look professionally made by mimicking the design and typography of the real brand. Always fact-check the "FAQ" or "About Us" tabs for inconsistencies, and make sure there is an acceptable return policy.
If you suspect a product is counterfeit, there are resources for consumers to use to report the crime.
CSI is the global authority on anonymous reporting and is the umbrella organization for approximately 800 certified Crime Stoppers programs worldwide. CSI provides an online tip portal for citizens to anonymously report suspected criminal activity. Consumers can report at anonymousreporting.org.
"Criminals take advantage of consumers any way possible, especially during times of celebration like the holidays," said Devrol Dupigny, Chief Operations Officer for CSI. "Our vast network of Crime Stoppers make it easy for citizens to report suspected criminal activity while remaining completely anonymous. Submitting a tip leads law enforcement to solve more complicated crimes because counterfeiting is often part of a larger network."
The global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is worth nearly half a trillion dollars, with e-commerce constituting a significant portion of these transactions.2 These purchases pose a risk to both businesses and consumers. The IACC and Crime Stoppers International work to raise awareness about this problem around the globe.
The IACC (www.iacc.org) is a Washington, DC-based not for profit organization representing the interests of companies concerned with trademark counterfeiting and the related theft of intellectual property. The members of the IACC include many of the world's best-known brands across all product sectors. The IACC has played a leading role in raising awareness about the dangers of counterfeit products to consumers, highlighting the issue in national media, such as The Dr. Oz Show, and international media, such as Russian Television.
Crime Stoppers International is the global authority on anonymous reporting and is the umbrella organization for approximately 800 certified Crime Stoppers programs operating in 26 different countries across seven geographic regions. Its mission is "to mobilize the world to report information on crime anonymously." Since its founding in 1976, information provided through the network has led to more than one million arrests and 1.5 million cases solved. The group maintains a co-operation agreement with INTERPOL and has collaborative agreements with organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the CNN Freedom Project (CNN), Airline Ambassadors International (AAI) and the International Police Training Institute (IPTI). To learn more visit www.CSIWorld.org.
1 National Retail Federation
2 OECD & EUIPO "Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact," 2016
SOURCE International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition