In time for this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday Trading Standards and Meta have recently removed hundreds of listings of potentially counterfeit items from Instagram. As well as fake jewellery, clothing and tobacco a large number of substandard electrical products were also being offered for sale.

This is a timely result. Amidst this cost of living crisis more consumers are knowingly leaning towards buying counterfeit products in an effort to keep the cost of Christmas down. But, a lot of counterfeit electricals are inferior and not subject to the usual rigorous tests that genuine items are. Electrical fires can unfortunately be a dangerous consequence of using these goods. Proceeds from these activities also help fund organised crime and whilst a purchase of a fake bag or pair of trainers may seem harmless - think about where the money ultimately ends up.

Educating consumers and protecting brand owners are key in combatting counterfeiters. For brand owners in particular, the UK's trade mark laws contain useful criminal and civil enforcement provisions against counterfeiters. Once your brand is registered it can be used to take down infringing content and listings of counterfeit goods from social media channels and online marketplaces. This is important given the surge of online retail since the pandemic which has increased the public's exposure to on-line criminal acts. A registered trade mark can also provide protection at UK borders and can also assist local Trading Standards Organisations police shops and markets. This latest crackdown is testament to that.

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