Hampshire Trading Standards officers are reminding shoppers to stay alert when buying gifts, as cheap deals may not be the bargain they appear. Common fakes include perfume, CDs, videos, DVDs, sports goods, and ‘designer’ clothing - with most found to be either dangerous and/or poorly made.
Here are some top tips to avoid being scammed into buying counterfeit items in person and online.
• Toys - Check that toys are suitable for the right age, are CE marked and have the name and address of the importer or manufacturer.
• Shopping online - Look for signs that the website is using a secure, encrypted connection, look at the returns policy or search for reviews of the seller.
• Social media purchases – Be wary of purchasing products via social media sites - it is notoriously risky as they can contain misleading advertising, counterfeit and unsafe products, subscription traps and many other scams such as shortened URLs containing malware.
• Prices - Be ready to question an offer with a price which seems to good to be true – it usually means it is.
Hampshire Trading Standards is backing National Trading Standards guidance recommending that you follow a Buy Safe checklist.
You can report any concerns to Hampshire County Council Trading Standards by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.