INTA Warns Consumers to be Vigilant Online this Holiday Season

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NEW YORK, NY – This holiday season the International Trademark Association (INTA) is warning consumers about the proliferation of counterfeit goods sold online, a press release by the Association stated.

With consumer electronics and toys filling the shopping baskets, we ask everyone to shop cautiously, especially on the Internet. Online shopping has become increasingly popular, especially during the holiday season with consumers trying to avoid crowded stores. Counterfeiters have followed shoppers online; by 2010 fake websites selling counterfeit goods were receiving over 53 million visits per year. That number continues to grow.

In 2011 consumer electronics accounted for nearly one quarter of all border seizures in the United States, more than any other consumer product category. This does not account for the fake goods that reached consumers via mail and express courier services, commonly used by counterfeiters selling via the Internet.

The situation is similar in Europe. Last year saw a notable increase in the number of seizures of counterfeit items sold online that arrived in the EU via mail and courier traffic. Over 2 million counterfeit toys, including electronic games, were seized at the EU’s borders in 2011. This represents only a fraction of the fake toys believed to have passed through customs and entered the EU market. Counterfeiters do not follow the EU’s strict toy safety requirements. Toys are often made from unsafe materials or contain dangerous toxins, posing significant risks to children’s health and safety.

This holiday season, cautious shoppers can reduce the risks and the potentially harmful effects of counterfeits. We invite consumers to visit the “did you know?” page of INTA’s recently-launched Unreal Campaign website for practical advice and tips for spotting counterfeits.

The International Trademark Association (INTA) is a worldwide association of member companies and firms that support and advance trademarks and intellectual property as elements of fair and effective global commerce.

Last May INTA launched Unreal Campaign, a consumer awareness campaign that educates teens on the importance of buying genuine products and the role trademarks play in their everyday lives. Last week the official Unreal Campaign website went live.


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