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Counterfeit Goods Increase Not Helped by Consumer Complacency

The Federation Against Software Theft : 29 September, 2010  (Company News)
The Federation Against Software Theft is issuing advice to consumers on protecting themselves from fake websites and counterfeit goods
The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has called on UK consumers to be vigilant when it comes to buying online in the wake of the news from Trading Standards that more than 3.7 million counterfeit goods were seized last year.

According to Trading Standards this reflects a four-fold rise in the number of seized goods and arguably represents the tip of a big iceberg of fake websites and fraudsters.

John Lovelock, Chief Executive, FAST, stated: "There is no doubt that criminals are getting more and more sophisticated in their approach to fraud. Some websites are so sophisticated they add counterfeit security certificates to fool shoppers, others are using links to 'bargains' sent via social networking sites, internet forums and in e-mails, which also prove to be fake or are used to fish for people's banking details."

The number of complaints about counterfeit goods to helpline 'Consumer Direct' has also risen sharply with 1,958 complaints in the 2008-09 financial year, rising to 2,801 in 2009-10.

John Lovelock continued: "Many consumers are unwilling participants in the black market, with some unaware that they were ordering fake goods online rather than the real thing and it does not matter whether they are buying software or jewellery. The Golden Rule should always be - if it looks like it is too good a deal, then it probably is!"

FAST has issued its own four-point guide to keeping safe online

* Choose shopping websites carefully
* Think about the price, where it is bought from and the packaging
* Ensure the site is secure by looking for a website address starting with https
* Keep a copy of the order and details of the website
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