Buying fake and illegal goods

Buying fake and illegal goods such as fake football shirts, fake designer handbags or cheap make-up can harm you, your family and your community. These goods help fund organised crime gangs including some who call themselves paramilitaries. Crime gangs can make millions of pounds through selling illegal and fake goods.

Fake and illegal goods - community harm

If you buying fake and illegal goods, your money helps to fund rganised crime gangs, including some who call themselves paramilitaries.

These gangs can be involved in crimes which may be happening in your area:

  • armed robbery
  • ATM and card-skimming scams
  • ATM physical attack incidents
  • cash in transit attacks
  • child sexual exploitation
  • counterfeiting
  • cyber crime and cyber threats to individuals and businesses
  • rrug dealing and trafficking
  • extortion where businesses have to pay protection money, loan sharking
  • fraud, such as dating, ticket or holiday fraud
  • fuel laundering and illegal waste dumping
  • human trafficking
  • illegal weapons
  • paramilitary activity
  • prostitution
  • tiger kidnaps - abduction of a hostage to force another person to facilitate a ransom from a business or other institution

Further information is available on:

Fake and illegal goods - personal harm

You might think buying fake goods doesn't cause any harm and saves you money. 

But fake goods can actually harm you, your family and your community. Below are examples of fake and illegal items that could harm you and your family if you use these goods.

Item Harm
Fake perfume and aftershave They often contain poisonous chemicals that can cause allergic reactions, such as burning and swelling of the skin
Counterfeit clothing Some people will try to sell you fake clothing, such as replica football kits and designer gear at low prices. These items are often poor quality and won’t last. They may not meet safety standards such as fire resistance. Fastenings and material are often of an inferior standard. There is no comeback with the seller if any of this is the case
Fake make-up and beauty products You may think you are getting branded make up at much less than the usual price but  fake products can contain a cocktail of potentially harmful ingredients. These can cause severe allergic reactions and possible long-term harm  to skin, eyes and hair
Fake car parts Very cheap car parts may be fake and may not meet safety standards. Inferior or fake items like tyres, alloys and brake pads are more likely to fail and risk causing potentially serious accidents or damage to your car.
Laundered fuel Laundered fuel such as red diesel can cause serious damage to the engine of your vehicle. The dumping of toxic waste can also be hazardous to the environment
Counterfeit toys Counterfeit toys that have not been manufactured properly can fall apart easily and cause an injury  or choking risk to young children
Fake cigarettes They pose a greater health risk than ordinary cigarettes as they can contain higher levels of toxic ingredients such as tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, lead and arsenic.  As production is not monitored, these cigarettes could contain anything
Fake jewellery The items are likely to be made from cheap metals. These can cause allergic reactions to the skin. The cheaper metals can discolour and break easily
Fake or cheap alcohol Very cheap alcohol may be fake and counterfeit beer, wine and spirits can contain ingredients such as  paint stripper that can poison you or be a risk to your health.  Other chemicals used to make fake alcohol include anti-freeze, screenwash and nail polish remover. Counterfeit alcohol can leave you blind or in a coma and can be life threatening 
Fake protein powder and supplements Non-regulated or fake products can contain banned or harmful substances  which can pose serious health risks
Sky TV - freeview IPTV Sales of internet protocol television (IPTV) packages are illegal and bypass the encryption of programmes by major broadcasters.  This means you risk being charged with theft, fraud or breach of copyright 

Report the sale of fake and illegal goods

If you suspect any criminal activity, including selling fake and illegal goods, you should help end the harm by reporting the incident. You can do this anonymously:

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