Festive shoppers have been urged to buy gifts from recognised retailers, after council officers confiscated counterfeit perfume from unlicensed street traders in Bolton town centre.
In the last week alone, town centre officers have confronted two sets of rogue traders claiming to be selling legitimate brand-name scents at a fraction of the normal retail cost.
A cursory inspection revealed the items were substandard and potentially dangerous illegal fakes.
Often brought in from abroad before being branded with counterfeit labels in the UK, the knock-off products have been known to contain harmful chemicals.
Fake fragrances may initially look and smell the same, but unlike the genuine article, the scent of these cheap imports will quickly evaporate leaving consumers feeling short changed.
If a fragrance is being sold in the street, from a car boot or in the pub, then it will almost certainly be an illegal fake.
Online auction sites are also proving increasingly popular with fraudsters.
Sellers do not pay the taxes that fund vital public services and counterfeit distribution is linked to organised criminal networks.
Shoppers are instead urged to support their local high street by buying from an established retailer.
Many of these knock-off products contain dangerous substances that present a serious risk to your health.
A spokesperson for Bolton Council Trading Standards said: “The Christmas period can be an expensive time for all of us but buying cheap counterfeit perfume could end up costing you more than you bargained for.
“Many of these knock-off products contain dangerous substances that present a serious risk to your health.
“Bogus perfumes can change hands for upwards of £25, less than the cost of the real thing but a considerable amount to pay for a worthless and potentially dangerous product.
“Fake goods also put jobs at risk by undermining the profits of legitimate manufacturers and retailers.
“These scammers often target those who can least afford to part with their hard-earned cash.
“We urge the public to be vigilant and use their common sense. If a deal looks too good to be true, there’s a very real chance it could be a scam.
“If something smells funny, just walk away.”