RAT DROPPINGS, HUMAN urine and poison have been found in fake beauty products which are being sold online.
A campaign, Wake up – don’t fake up!, is being launched today by the The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).
It’s highlighting the dangers of buying and using counterfeit goods such as make-up, perfume, electrical hair stylers and sun-cream.
Laboratory tests have shown counterfeit perfume often contains poisonous chemicals including cyanide and even human urine.
While fake cosmetics such as eyeliner, mascara, lipgloss and foundation have been found to contain toxic levels of chemicals and harmful substances such as; arsenic, mercury and lead.
All of these can cause allergic reactions, such as skin irritation, swelling, rashes and burns as well as leaving the consumer with longer term health problems.
Counterfeit make-up is often produced in un-sanitised and un-hygienic factories and there have been cases where rats’ droppings and poison have also been found in the phoney cosmetics.
In the last 18 months, PIPCU has suspended more than 5,500 websites selling fake luxury branded goods as well as seizing more than £3.5million worth of fake goods.
Police say the popularity of the internet and online shopping mean the production and sale of fake goods on the web is increasing.
Checking the authenticity of a product is a lot harder online, as consumers cannot gauge the look and feel of a product as they did before when buying on the high-street.
Generic stock images are also frequently used to deceive consumers into believing they are buying the real deal.
Fake electrical beauty goods, such as hair curlers, dryers and straighteners are often very dangerous and can cause electrocution or overheat and catch fire, potentially burning hair, skin and scalp as well as putting homes and lives at risk.
City of London Police, Detective Superintendent Maria Woodall who oversees the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) said “Many people don’t know about the real dangers counterfeit beauty products pose to their health and so that is why this week we are urging the public to Wake up – don’t fake up!
Criminals are exploiting every opportunity to fool customers into buying counterfeits in order for them to make some quick cash – putting peoples’ health, homes and lives at risk.
“Beauty products are meant to enhance your features however the fakes can in fact do quite the opposite. Our general rule is; if it seems too good to be true then it probably is!
Not only could these products have serious implications to your health and wellbeing but by simply going online and buying from a rogue site or dealer, your personal and financial information is at risk.
“We have had victims who have bought fake items online only to discover later that the criminals behind the site have used their payment details to make further purchases or even use their personal details to set up hundreds of illegal sites selling counterfeit goods.”