Fake poppies diverting funds from UK charities

For the second year running, the UK government has warned the public to beware of counterfeit poppy merchandise ahead of Remembrance Day on November 11.

The red poppy products are distributed on behalf of The Royal British Legion to raise money to support armed forces community men, women, veterans and their families, but the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) says the public should be on the lookout for fakes. The traditional paper poppies are not included in the warning but other merchandise – scarves, jewellery, poppy pins, poppy brooches and the like – are thought to be in circulation.

Last year, poppy merchandise copyrighted by the Royal British Legion and Poppy Scotland charities – worth around £150,000 (around $200,000) – was seized at Tilbury docks en route to Manchester. The shipment originated from China.

IPO said in a statement that “donations intended to support Armed Forces community men, women, veterans and their families…could end up benefitting fraudsters if their poppy merchandise turns out to be fake.”

To help consumers beat the fraudsters, the IPO has the following advice:

  • Be a ‘responsible buyer’ – buy from official channels and The Royal British Legion’s corporate partners;
  • Avoid cheaper priced products;
  • The Royal British Legion works with a number of corporate partners. Only corporate partners are authorised by the Royal British Legion to sell poppy merchandise
  • If in doubt, buy through The Royal British Legion or The Royal British Legion official eBay or Amazon pages – you will be sure of the authenticity.


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