Ed Machin, the council's Trading Standards Manager, said: "Christmas is an expensive time of year and the last thing that anyone wants to do is to spend money on fakes or unsafe goods. The council's Trading Standards team is taking this opportunity to highlight what to look out for and how people can protect themselves from being duped."
In the long run it can be far more expensive buying counterfeit goods and it could put you or your family at risk. Here is some useful tips:
- Prices - be ready to question any offer for designer goods with a price which seems too good to be true - it usually means it is.
- Toys - check that toys are suitable for the right age, are CE marked and have the name and address of the importer or manufacturer.
- Shopping online - look for signs that the website is using a secure, encrypted connection for online payment such as https:// in the web address. Look at the seller's returns policy and search for reviews.
- Social media purchases - be wary of purchasing products via social media sites. It is notoriously risky as they can contain misleading advertising, counterfeit and unsafe products, subscription traps and many other scams, such as shortened web addresses containing malware which could put your personal data and banks details at risk.
If you have any concerns about goods, please call is the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline 03454 040506.