In a bid to fight fake goods and scams this holiday season, the US Chamber of Commerce has launched its Shop Safe campaign. The campaign is spearheaded by the Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). The GIPC warns the holidays present an opportunity for counterfeit goods and scam artists to trick unsuspecting customers.
With the commotion of planning meals, buying gifts and traveling, more consumers are being duped by fraudsters. The increasing amount of holiday offers and discounts can get people distracted so they let their guards down. Especially this season when more holiday shoppers are going online to make their purchases. Some 65% of US consumers are not able to confidently distinguish between a real and fake website.
Scammers are looking for ways to crack into your accounts and make off with your cash or your identity. From secret Santa scams on social media to phony shipping notifications, your sensitive personal information is at risk. The Shop Safe campaign aims to lower that risk.
Challenge of Counterfeits
According to the US Chamber of Commerce, counterfeit goods pose a serious threat to both consumers and businesses. For example, toxic paint on toys, contaminated cosmetics or a phone charger that can ignite all pose threats. Counterfeit products can pose a serious threat to consumers’ health and safety. The lure of a good deal can expose consumers to not only losing money but also endangering their loved ones. As a result, counterfeit products can erode consumers’ trust in legitimate products.
Subpar and cheap imported substitutes can also undermine innovation. As a result, they threaten the largest drivers of the US economy. Very often criminal organizations make these counterfeit goods. As a result, businesses are robbed of their ability to promote their own authentic innovation.
“Counterfeit products cost the global economy over $500 billion dollars a year,” says Kasie Brill, Executive Director of Brand Protection at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
10 Simple Rules to Avoid Getting Duped
The Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) has come up with these 10 simple rules for consumers to stay vigilant.
1. Trust Your Instincts
All that glitters isn’t gold. As a result, if i sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Insist on Secure Transactions
When doing business online, make sure you submit payments via websites beginning with https:// (the “s” stands for secure) and look for a lock symbol at the bottom of your browser.
3. Watch for Missing Sales Tax Charges
Businesses trading in counterfeit goods often do not report their sales to financial authorities
4. Seek Quality Assurance in the Secondary Market
Reputable and reliable re-sellers have comprehensive inspection. As a result, authentication procedures and technicians generally inspect the equipment they sell.
5. Be Particularly Careful Purchasing Medicine Online
Reports suggest that 96% of online pharmacies do not meet safety or legal standards, so it is especially important that you remain vigilant when buying your medicines online.
6. Be Vigilant when Buying Abroad
When shopping on international websites, look for trusted vendors that use identifiable privacy and security safeguards and have legitimate addresses.
7. Guard your Personal Information
Illicit websites often install malware that can steal your credit card information and other information stored on your computer.
8. Scrutinize Labels, Packaging and Contents
Look for missing or expired “use by” dates, broken or missing safety seals, missing warranty information, or otherwise unusual packaging.
9. Report Fake Products
Report unsafe products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission by calling 800-638-2772 or by visiting their website.
If you suspect you have received a fake, counterfeit or substandard product, report it to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center or to your local law enforcement.
10. Spread the Word
Last but definitely not least, share these tips! Teach your family, friends, and coworkers about counterfeits.
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