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Bargain-hunting shoppers in North Ayrshire are being urged to be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals this Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.
Black Friday’s popularity means that unsuspecting shoppers have become one of the main targets for criminals looking to offload counterfeit goods and make a profit.
As well as costing Scottish business millions of pounds each year, fake goods can be dangerous and harmful to health, especially counterfeit cosmetics, tobacco and alcohol.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) is urging consumers to be vigilant this Black Friday weekend and only buy from credible retailers.
The illegal trading of fake goods is often also used to support organised crime gangs, human trafficking and exploitation of workers.
David MacCrimmon, serious organised crime and counter terrorism lead at SBRC, added: ‘What a customer might think is a brilliant bargain might in fact be helping to fund serious organised crime and even terrorist groups.
‘It’s not just the money from fake goods that criminals are profiting from – it’s also the exploitation of the workers who have made the products, some of whom may have been trafficked.’
SBRC has revealed some tips for shoppers to stay safe online this Black Friday weekend, including:
· Only buy using secure methods for transactions such as PayPal
· Look out for the language on websites – poor grammar or spelling mistakes in product descriptions
· Be wary of sites with no refunds policies
· Take care when buying from sites like Gumtree and Facebook
· Spend time on the website reviewing it before making any payments
If customers suspect a website is selling fake goods or an item they have purchased is counterfeit, they are advised to go directly to Police Scotland by calling 101.
SBRC’s unique connection to Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Government gives it exclusive access to the latest information on legislation, criminal trends and threats, allowing it to provide the very best advice to safeguard staff, customers and business.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre is a non-profit organisation which exists to support and help protect Scottish businesses.
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