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Valentine's. A day of opportunity for counterfeiters

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Enforcement

Valentine’s Day is approaching a £1 billion industry, with most of our affection shown with gifts and presents.

Ironically, in 2013 counterfeiting attributed to almost £9.3 billion in illicit imports, with almost half intended for the secondary market. Why am I talking about counterfeits you may ask? Well, it's because fake goods will be driven by counterfeit suppliers through social media and auction sites, especially during holidays like Valentine's Day.

Love wooden letters on rustic background

Picture this. It’s late on a dreary Tuesday evening, it's freezing outside and you didn’t even bring your big coat...gutted.

You hurry to get in your car and attempt to warm yourself up as you join the queue of snaking red lights. People, places and objects start to sink in as you enter auto-pilot and a familiar gleam from a quaint Portuguese restaurant speaks to you. It was the first place you took your partner for a meal on a much more glorious day than this. The memory immediately comes flooding back, the smoky smell of the caldo verde and the plum taste of the ruby port. You relax back into your seat as you cruise past the window with your mind at peace.

Valentine’s, the most forgotten holiday

As you approach the end of the street, a bright red display from a mini-supermarket glows devilishly from the corner of your eye. An overwhelming sense of dread rises from your belly! You get tense and awash with emotion. The realisation forgot Valentine’s Day.

The mass display of knock down chocolate, furry teddy bears, costume jewellery and random assortments of makeup and jewellery won’t do. You may not be the romantic type but they sure are, and there will be trouble if you don’t get it right.

A red rose with two heart shaped chocolates

Valentine’s, the most forgotten holiday on the planet, with people every year rushing to get the latest luxury item off the production line. Cards, chocolate and cuddly crocodiles are a given, but one part of the puzzle is at least having something sentimental. Something that makes them know it’ll last a lifetime.

If it looks too good to be probably is!

Your first thought is to go online. You may instinctively go for the cheapest option as you didn't expect to spend this much money so haphazardly. With the guaranteed next day delivery you seem to be almost out the woods. But you know anything can happen and it might not get here in time.

You pull over to compose your thoughts and decide to check your social media for inspiration. After realising you’ve been scrolling through your feed for the past 10 minutes, your eyes glimpse at the local online marketplaces. Result! Everything is close by and collectable tomorrow, there’s so much to choose from too.

It could be their favourite perfume or even that beautiful charm they’ve been eyeing up. There’s lots of high end make up on there as well. But at last you get to it, just what they need and want, a sparkling designer watch that will withstand the test of time.

Cosmetics, perfume and jewellery lay flat on a blue background.

After making the purchase, your sense of relief finally returns and you know your problems are solved, or so you thought. After your significant other is left with a nasty green mark on her arm, and the mechanism breaks in the first week, you know you've been had. Not only have you been ripped are well and truly in the dog house.

Most seized items in the UK

Did you know, counterfeit purchases feed into more illicit activity? Genuine businesses lose sales and could resort to putting prices up. And people may lose jobs as the manufacture and sale of counterfeits is a strictly unregulated and underground industry. Because most of this trade is done behind closed doors, the Treasury lose billions in tax revenue which would otherwise be used on vital public services.

Luxury designer goods, alcohol and care products are some of the most seized items in the UK so they are some of the easiest products to get into the supply-chain. Make sure you #Buyreal this Valentine’s day and make it one to remember for all the right reasons!

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