Hotline to report fake goods
A dedicated hotline to allow people to report the sale of suspected fake goods is available in Dudley borough.
Dudley Council’s Trading Standards set up the hotline as part of its work to crack down on the sale of illicit goods such as cigarettes and clothing.
Only recently, on a tip off from a member of the public, trading standards officers seized more than £5,000 worth of fake cigarettes and tobacco from a convenience store in Stourbridge in a joint operation with West Midlands Police.
People are urged to support this work and report suspicious activity by calling 01384 814600. Reports can be made anonymously.
In the UK the sales of illicit goods cost the economy more than £9billion in lost revenue, £4billion in unpaid tax as well as 60,000 jobs. It’s believed globally the trade is estimated to be worth in excess of £360billion.
Products most likely to be counterfeited include alcohol, fragrance, cigarettes, toys and mobile phones and accessories.
The volume of counterfeit goods entering the UK is likely to have increased, in part, due to the shift to online shopping during the pandemic and many people being able to find bargains online.
In the run up to Christmas, people are also warned to be careful when buying goods online and are urged to make sure they are genuine and do exist.
If buying from a private online trader or marketplace, check the trader is genuine by looking at previous reviews and how people rated their products.
People should also make sure any site they are buying from is secure before entering payment details. A secure website will start with https and should have a padlock symbol in the browser window.
People are also advised never to follow links in messages from unknown senders, to be wary about who they give their personal details to and if they believe they have been a victim of a scam, they should contact their bank immediately.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:
We see the dedicated hotline as being a crucial part of our work to tackle the sale of illicit goods in our borough. People can report issues to us with the confidence it is anonymous.
We really need people to be our eyes and ears and tell us if they have suspicions. Not only do fake good cost us in terms of the economy and jobs, but some products could actually be dangerous, such as illegal vaping products.
Further advice and support can be found at – https://www.dudley.gov.uk/business/trading-standards/about-us/