Facebook fraud campaign in full swing
Warrington and Halton Trading Standards this week reported initial successes in their Why Risk IT? campaign against the sale of counterfeit goods, including via Facebook.
Officers said that since the campaign launched in November:
- 32 buy-and-sell accounts have been identified on Facebook.
- 28 individuals selling counterfeit goods have been identified, with products ranging from cosmetics and perfumes to Ugg boots and GHD hair straighteners.
- 4 accounts illegally selling tobacco have been identified.
The undercover work has also resulted in the discovery of one Facebook site organising potentially illegal poker nights, and another apparently involved in illegal money-lending.
Trading standards officers are also liaising with Facebook to take down 21 offending accounts with immediate effect.
Warrington Borough Council’s executive board member for public protection, Cllr David Keane, said today: “Our officers have done a good job in tracking down a number of Facebook fraudsters. During coming weeks those selling small volumes will receive warnings which we hope will deter them from further illicit activity. Other illegal sellers will be receiving a visit from police and trading standards officers.”
Cllr Keane added: “We want everyone to understand that selling counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime. Poor quality fakes are being passed off as expensive items, and where cosmetics, alcohol and electrical goods are concerned, people who buy counterfeit goods can be putting themselves in danger – not to mention the people they might give these goods to as Christmas presents.
“Apart from the fact that buying counterfeit goods is supporting the criminal economy and harming legitimate businesses, it’s not worth the risk to yourself or your family.”
Council urges: Please report suspect counterfeit goods
Cllr Keane concluded: “If you suspect someone is selling counterfeit goods, or if you think you may have accidentally purchased counterfeit goods, please phone the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline, on 08454 040506. Or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
“Remember the maximum sentence for selling counterfeit goods is ten years in prison. And if you’re convicted, the courts have the power to seize your vehicle, confiscate your money and sell your assets, including jewellery and your family home.”
Further information about counterfeit goods and the Warrington campaign can be found at www.tswarrington.co.uk.
DATE: 13 December 2013