Criminal gangs pray on innocent consumers on Black Friday.
November 29th will be marked in the diaries of retailers and shoppers alike as Black Friday, the growing phenomenon being driven by the discounts on offer.
However, ICCE, the Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East & Africa is warning consumers that counterfeiters will also be taking the opportunity to offload poor quality, and even dangerous fakes from trusted brands onto the market. They will take advantage of other brands’ reputation to make a quick profit and won’t care about the potential consequences, including damage to printing equipment or the dangers of using hazardous chemicals.
This year UK shoppers are forecast to spend up to £7 billion on Black Friday and the following Monday, now known as Cyber Monday, but the very success of the weekend is making it attractive to unscrupulous criminals and organised counterfeiting gangs.
The sheer volume of sales and interest in cheaper deals means it is easier to hide counterfeit products in plain sight. Low prices that would make consumers suspicious at any other time of the year are seen as normal this weekend since even legitimate products can be heavily discounted.
The rise in online shopping has also provided a new route for organised crime to push their counterfeit products onto the market as gangs target the most popular ecommerce sites. Cyber Monday, which focuses on online sales as well as electronic equipment, can offer a boost to counterfeiters passing off fake goods and associated supplies such as printer cartridges.
For more than 20 years ICCE has worked with law enforcement agencies within the EMEA zone to protect consumers and industry from counterfeit printer supplies, including cartridges, ink and toner.
Members of the organisation work to exchange information between different law enforcement organisations within their area of operation as well as run training events for frontline customs officers.
Using technology and networking to beat counterfeiters
The objective of the international conference was to equip Intellectual Property crime investigators with the necessary knowledge and skills required to plan and run successful interventions against the activities of transnational, organized IP crime, in partnership with other stakeholders.
This year’s Conference was co-hosted by INTERPOL and the South African Police Service’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation and much of the focus was on inter-agency collaboration to beat counterfeiting.
Another major theme was the use of technology, including converting data into actionable intelligence; leveraging technology to support learning in capacity building programmes; understanding cryptocurrencies; strategies to address counterfeiters in the online environment; communicating warnings about counterfeit goods to the general public and conducting enforcement investigations.
For more details about ICCE visit www.icce.net or you can follow ICCE on Twitter @ICCEfightsfakes.