Surge in fakes on social media ahead of Black Friday

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is warning of a massive increase of fake goods for sale during the run up to Black Friday via online platforms and social media sites.

The build-up to the Black Friday – the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the US which traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season – falls on November 27 this year. It is followed by Cyber Monday, promoted recently by retailers to boost online sales.

Research has shown that 25 per cent of people bought a counterfeit item on Black Friday in 2019, says the ACG, an UK  industry body and lobbying group, and the number of illegal online offers has increased by 171 per cent since 2016.

“Price drops make it harder for people to spot a fake and with a large increase of online sales expected during this period due to shop closures,” according to the ACG, which also says social media “influencers” – people use their followings to promote goods – are an emerging problem.

The group points to a report from analytics firm Ghost Data which fund that one in five fashion posts on Instagram includes at least one fake item.

“There are over 50,000 accounts either promoting or directly selling counterfeit goods on Instagram,” it says.

ACG is warning consumers that counterfeit luxury and fashion goods have now been joined by dangerous fake toys, electrical goods, pharmaceuticals, mobile phones, chargers, alcohol and beauty products.

“As we meet these Black Friday and Cyber Monday “deal days” in the run-up to the festive season the scope of fakes will continue to grow and will include more and more unsafe products, including household appliances, toiletries, perfumes, hygiene and body care items,” said Phi Lewis, the ACG’s chief executive.

“We are warning all consumers to be vigilant and check what they are buying. If you are buying from a social media site make sure you check the product is being sold by a reputable source.”

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