PR: Police urge those inspired by the London Marathon to buy genuine footwear

The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is warning those feeling inspired by the London Marathon to buy legitimate running footwear.

The event is as popular as ever with a record 386,050 people applying to take part in the event on Sunday 22 April, an increase of 29 per cent from last year. International coverage naturally creates interest and leads to many people taking up the sport.

This renewed interest sees many people purchasing trainers in the days and weeks following the event, so PIPCU is urging shoppers to make sure their footwear is the real deal.

Should you run a mile from fake trainers?

Since January this year, PIPCU has taken down over 1,000 websites selling counterfeit branded footwear, with shoppers running the risk of purchasing trainers that have not undergone the same safety checks as legitimate brands.

Safety checks carried out on genuine footwear includes damage resistance testing, colour fastness against rubbing and tear strength. Without these checks, running footwear can leave the owner disappointed by poor foot support, bad quality materials and reduced durability.

Consumers also need to be aware that by accessing websites selling counterfeit goods they risk their personal details being compromised and used for other fraudulent scams, as well as exposing their computer to malware and viruses.

Top tips to help you avoid buying counterfeit goods

  • Trust your instincts – if an offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Legitimate designer items are rarely discounted, so do not rush and be fooled into believing you are getting a good deal.
  • Check the spelling and grammar on the website and of the URL – often the people behind these sites do not pay a lot of attention or care to this detail. Fraudsters may also try to deceive you by slightly changing the spelling of a well-known brand or shop in the website address.
  • Look to see where the trader is based and whether they provide a postal address – just because the web address has ‘uk’ do not assume the seller is based in the UK. If there is no address supplied or there is just a PO Box or email, be wary.
  • Only deal with reputable sellers - only use sites you know or ones that have been recommended to you. If you have not bought from the seller before, do your research and check online reviews. People will often turn to forums and blogs to warn others of fake sites.
  • Ensure the website address begins ‘https’ at the payment stage – this indicates a secure payment.
  • Keep security software and firewalls up-to-date. Regularly update your internet browser when a new patch-security update is released.
  • Don’t access links in unsolicited emails, always type in the website address or use a search engine to find a site.
  • Ask the trader if there is a returns policy or guarantee. Most rogue traders will not offer this.
  • If you are not sure whether the items are genuine, do not enter your payment details – it is not worth the risk.
  • Watch out for pop-ups appearing asking you to confirm your card details before you are on the payment stage. Never enter your PIN online.

Detective Chief Inspector Teresa Russell of the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) said: “The London Marathon is one of the most famous running events in the world and it’s great that it encourages people to take up the sport.

“We are urging people to put their own safety and comfort first by purchasing legitimate footwear that has undergone the required standard checks.

“With a lack of support and poor quality materials, counterfeit running footwear can cause painful joint problems. Don’t run the risk to run a marathon!”

Ros Lynch Director of Copyright and Enforcement at the Intellectual Property Office said: “Counterfeit footwear is a problem in the UK so it’s good that PIPCU have taken down over 1,000 websites selling these items in 2018 alone.

“We urge consumers not to be tempted by the cheaper price of counterfeit footwear. The quality is not only poor, but they could cause harm to yourself or your loved ones. PIPCU provides some helpful top tips on how to avoid buying counterfeits when shopping online and we encourage consumers to follow this advice.

“We hope everyone taking part in the London Marathon has a safe and fun filled race.”

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