Fake listings pulled from Instagram before Black Friday

A crackdown by UK Trading Standards and social media group Meta has been launched to remove listings of potential counterfeit products from Instagram in the run-up to Black Friday tomorrow.

The listings cover counterfeit electrical goods – such as phone accessories and potentially dangerous chargers – as well as fake clothing and fashion accessories, jewellery, tobacco, car parts and copyrighted photographs.

The crackdown – which is still ongoing – has already led to hundreds of Instagram listings being taken down, according to the partners. It comes as a new survey has shown that just over one in four UK shoppers are considering or intending to buy fake products this year.

Electrical devices and accessories like chargers and earphones are among the top purchase targets for consumers, according to the report, which also found that 37 per cent of respondents said they want to buy the same amount of presents as last Christmas.

That "could lure more people into unknowingly purchasing cheaper but unsafe counterfeit products," according to a Trading Standards statement.

Illegally-sold items pose substantial risks for shoppers, as they can be both poor quality, leading to wasted spending, and incredibly dangerous.

Previous research by Electrical Safety First found that 98 per cent of fake Apple chargers failed safety tests, while Home Office data suggests 10 house fires in the UK each day are caused by faulty appliances and leads.

The revelations come ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which continue to grow in popularity, with nearly 10 per cent of survey responders confirming they plan to shop on Black Friday for the first time this year.

The operation also coincides with the launch of the Intellectual Property Officer's Don't Blow Christmas campaign (@dontblowchristmas) in advance of the peak online shopping season and is urging people to buy authentic electrical goods from legitimate retailers.

The campaign gives the following advice to consumers considering shopping for bargains:

1)     Vet the seller

2)     Avoid payments by bank transfer

3)     Trust your instincts

4)     Look for EU and UK safety markings

5)     Question the price if much cheaper than elsewhere

"Aside from being poor quality, fake electrical goods can be a fire hazard, while copycat toys can be deadly to children as criminals don't care about safety standards," commented Mike Andrews, national co-ordinator of National Trading Standards eCrime team.

" Even fake designer clothes and accessories cause huge harm as the trade props up organised crime."

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