The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is urging UK consumers to exercise caution when buying goods online.
According to figures released by Trading Standards, the past year has seen seizures of counterfeit goods purchased via fake web sites and fraudsters increase fourfold to 3.7 million.
John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST, said criminals are using increasingly sophisticated means to defraud unwitting consumers.
“Some web sites are so sophisticated they add counterfeit security certificates to fool shoppers, others are using links to bargains sent via social networking sites, internet forums and in emails, which also prove to be fake or are used to phish for people's banking details,” he said.
“Many consumers are unwilling participants in the black market, with some unaware that they were ordering fake goods. The golden rule should always be: if it looks like it is too good a deal, then it probably is.”
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View photos of last night's awards ceremony in London
View photos of all the winners from the 2018 Channel Awards
After a glittering awards evening in Battersea celebrating 25 years of the Awards, we are pleased to share the list of winners and judges' commended winners