EAST Renfrewshire shoppers are being warned against Black Friday scammers.

Locals are urged to be wary of 'too-good-to-be-true deals' as unsuspecting bargain-hunters have become main targets for criminals looking to offload counterfeit goods and make a profit.

Illegal trading of fake goods could also be funding serious crime or terrorism, claims David MacCrimmon of Serious Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Lead at the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC). 

He said: “What a customer might think is a brilliant bargain might in fact be helping to fund serious organised crime and even terrorist groups.

Barrhead News: David MacCrimmonDavid MacCrimmon

“It’s not just the money from fake goods that criminals are profiting from – it’s also the exploitation of the workers who have made the products, some of whom may have been trafficked.”

As well as costing Scottish business millions of pounds each year, fake goods can be dangerous and harmful to health, especially counterfeit cosmetics, tobacco and alcohol.

The SBRC is urging consumers to be vigilant this Black Friday weekend and only buy from credible retailers.

Eamonn Keane, Chief Operating Officer for Cyber and Innovation at SBRC, said: “Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals can really tempt shoppers and trick them into thinking they’ve found an unbelievable bargain – when in reality their best buy might be a convincing fake.

“Every year we’re seeing more people fall into the trap of purchasing a counterfeit goods online, especially in the lead up to the festive period when people are actively looking for a good deal.

“The main thing to remember is that if a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is and should be avoided.”

SBRC has revealed some tips for shoppers to stay safe online this Black Friday weekend, including:

  • Only buy using secure methods for transactions such as PayPal
  • Look out for the language on websites – poor grammar or spelling mistakes in product descriptions
  • Be wary of sites with no refunds policies
  • Take care when buying from sites like Gumtree and Facebook
  • Spend time on the website reviewing it before making any payments

If customers suspect a website is selling fake goods or an item they have purchased is counterfeit, they are advised to go directly to Police Scotland by calling 101.

If you have been affected by scammers, call the Newsdesk on: 0141 435 8838