Make the Dangers of Counterfeits More Exposed

The global trade of counterfeit and pirated products is valued by the OECD at a massive $509 billion, which accounts for more than 3% of international commerce. The massive surge in e-commerce and the convenience its offers play a significant role in the sector’s growth. However, counterfeiters are not altruistic; they are frequently part of criminal organisations which are prepared to cut corners and jeopardise the health of consumers in an effort to maximise profits. As such, it is crucial to educate the public on the dangers of fake goods when conducting anti-counterfeiting awareness campaigns.

The hazards of using counterfeit goods aren’t always obvious to consumers. There are numerous safety and health risks which the public should be aware of, particularly involving the following five product groups.


At first glance, fake toys may seem like benevolent products meant to brighten the lives of underprivileged children. However, this $12 billion dollar industry is riddled with health risks, especially for children. Numerous tests have shown that fake toys contain excessive levels of toxic substances. The toys are also structurally suspect, and detached parts can become choking hazards.


The prevalence of cheap, mass-produced electronics has lulled us into believing that these products are simple and easy to make. The truth is, electronic goods such as mobile phones and mobile phone accessories are very complex products with very high manufacturing standards. Counterfeit phones, batteries and earphones which fail to adhere to such stringent manufacturing standards could melt, explode, catch fire or even cause permanent hearing damage.


Fast-moving consumer goods such as packaged foods, toiletries, baby products and beverages are very vulnerable to counterfeiters. Since the fake products are made without any quality controls, inspections and safety tests, they leave consumers exposed to a wide range of health risks. Some of the more common risks include ingestion of toxic chemicals (food, drinks, toothpaste, etc.), skin allergies (soap, shampoo, powders, detergents, etc.) and absence of active ingredients (artificial sweeteners, ointments, pre-packaged edibles, etc.).

Luxury and Fashion 

Luxury and fashion counterfeits typically cost the highest economic damage to consumers. Among the most common fake products from this category are sunglasses and perfume. Imitation sunglasses typically use lenses incapable of shielding users from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, which will expose the users’ eyes and skin to harmful radiation. 

Fake perfumes, meanwhile, could expose users to skin allergies and rashes – the fragrance doesn’t even last long or smell alike.


Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are the most dangerous form of fake goods. The online market is awash with substandard drugs which contain the wrong amount and type of active ingredients. Many have no active ingredients at all, while some have additional ingredients which are not labelled. 

Patients consuming imitation medicines could worsen their original condition. In addition, they may experience side effects such as nausea, diarrhea and allergic reactions. In some cases, these fake drugs could lead to death.


There are many reasons why consumers should avoid purchasing and using counterfeit brands. However, the most important one is their health. Counterfeiters do not adhere to standards and regulations, and as such, the use of their products exposes consumers to unwanted risks. 

You can help Yellow Brand Protection to spread the word about the dangers of counterfeit goods by joining our initiative – get more on #ImForReal here.


More on Brand Protection:

Brand protection in the toy industry

Brand protection in the electronics industry

#ImForReal - Take a stand against the market of counterfeit goods

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