Fake Free Fife
Fake Free Fife campaign logo
Keeping Fife Fake Free
Trading Standards enforcement officers regularly inspect the various markets and events that take place throughout the year in Fife. They vary in size from well-attended annual events such as the St Andrews Lammas Market in August, to small, local car boot sales held in car parks.
Many markets and sales have become an attractive venue for sellers of counterfeit and pirated goods. Our officers have become very good at detecting illegal merchandise and will use their powers to seize the goods and have the owner prosecuted.
The Fake Free Fife campaign aims to raise awareness of the ongoing problem of counterfeiting and to make people aware of the consequences of it. Also to highlight what Fife Council, in partnership with other enforcement bodies like Police Scotland and industry funded bodies such the Federation against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the Anti-Counterfeiting Group are doing to combat the issue.
What are counterfeit goods?
Goods which are manufactured using trade marks, trade names or other devices, to make them look like genuinely produced, popular branded goods. Generally, the products counterfeited are sports and leisurewear, watches, DVDs, CDs and computer games.
A trade mark is any sign which can distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another. A sign includes words, logos, colours, slogans, three-dimensional shapes and sometimes even sounds and gestures.
Five reasons you should never buy fakes:
- Counterfeiting is illegal and purchasing counterfeit products supports illegal activity.
- Counterfeiters do not pay taxes meaning less money for your community's schools, hospitals and parks.
- Counterfeiters do not pay their employees fair wages or benefits, have poor working conditions, and often use forced child labour.
- The profits from counterfeiting have been linked to funding organised crime, drug trafficking and terrorist activity.
- When you purchase a fake, you become part of the cycle of counterfeiting and your money directly supports these things you would never want to support.
Please be assured however, if you have bought counterfeit items in the past or have them in your possession for private use, you have not committed a criminal offence.
Fake goods fund crime
There is a serious side to counterfeiting. By purchasing cheap counterfeit goods, ranging from DVDs and vodka to premium price designer clothing, consumers probably don’t realise that they are lining the pockets of organised criminals. A significant percentage of counterfeiting is linked to organised criminal gangs where the profits are often used to fund serious crimes such as drugs and arms smuggling, people trafficking, identity theft, money-laundering and child pornography. Interpol has even reported counterfeiting profits being used to fund terrorist activity. Counterfeiting is seen by organised criminal gangs as attractive due to the perception of it being low-risk for high profit.
Fake goods cause harm
Counterfeiters don’t limit themselves to fake designer handbags and clothing. Cigarettes, alcohol, electrical products, power tools, food, medicines, toys and sports equipment are also faked with potentially dangerous consequences for you as a consumer.
Fake alcohol can contain methanol, a chemical that can cause blindness, coma and death. Counterfeit bottles of alcohol often imitate well known brands in an attempt to reassure people that the product is safe.
Fake beauty products often contain sub-standard ingredients that could give you a rash or an allergic reaction. Some bottles of fake perfume have even been found to use ingredients like urine as a stabiliser.
Look out for products sold in packaging featuring spelling or grammatical mistakes. Always buy your beauty products from a trusted source to help keep you safe from fakes.
Electrical goods sold in the UK are subject to stringent safety testing. Counterfeit electrical goods often sidestep these testing requirements. This means fake electrical goods, including hair straighteners, mobile phones and camera chargers, may contain unsafe wiring that can lead to over-heating creating risks of fire, electrocution and personal injury. Fake electrical goods may even be labelled with fake certification marks, so you think that they are safe.
Children’s toys are subject to strict safety testing. Counterfeit toys often won't have been tested. As a result fakes could contain small parts that are a choking hazard.
In January 2012 the results of a survey of over 2000 adults commissioned in conjunction with YouGov were announced:
- Nearly two-fifths of Britons have purchased counterfeit goods, with 22 per cent having bought a fake item of branded clothing.
- 24 per cent stated they had knowingly bought a fake DVD.
- 30 per cent had bought a product they thought was genuine but turned out to be counterfeit.
- The overwhelming majority (87%) would think again about a purchase if they knew that it could help fund organised crime such as human trafficking, drug dealing and terrorism.
However, when asked hypothetically if they would still buy a product knowing it was fake and might fund crimes such as human trafficking, drugs, gangs and terrorism:
- 56% said they would definitely not buy the product.
- 31% would reconsider then probably not buy it.
- Only 8% said they would buy it anyway.
Credit card fraud
Entering your debit or credit card details into a website that deals in fakes means that you are essentially giving your card details, your address and your name to criminals.
To ensure your card details remain safe, make sure that you only buy goods online from authorised retailers. Getting a pair of shoes for half price may seem like a quick bargain but now that you know you're putting your bank card at risk you’ve got to ask – “Is it really worth it?”
How you can help?
If you have any information regarding counterfeiting use our Report it online form - this can be done anonymously.
If you want further information please contact the Trading Standards team on 01592 583141 or by email at FakeFree.Fife@fife.gov.uk
For more information contactFake Free Fife Campaign
Tel: 01592 583141 Contact Fake Free Fife Campaign online
By Post: Fife Council, Kingdom House, Kingdom Avenue, Glenrothes, KY7 5LY