Just back from your vacation? Sun, sea, relaxation and a little retail therapy? Did you fall for that cute bag by a famous brand, or those normally outlandishly expensive sneakers that here, right under your very nose, were such a bargain that you just couldn’t resist? You can’t wait to show off to friends and colleagues? Or, did you resist but on getting back home have a change of heart - and instead order the item online, that fantastic bargain on a watch, or a bag, or a pair of shoes or far better priced headache tablets?

Well, whether you were aware of it or not, chances are that by accepting a fantastic bargain on a hard to get or typically very expensive product, you have become part of an industry that last year amounted to SEK 6,8 billion for a total of 41 million pirate copied products seized at the borders around Europe, of which some 200,000 were stopped on their way into Sweden. These numbers concern only such goods as were seized at borders within Europe. When considering the value of goods that make it through to the person/s having ordered the items, the numbers are staggering - estimated for 2016 at nearly half a trillion dollars on a global basis. And it is not ’just’ shoes, watches and bags. It is a matter of foodstuff, toys, pharmaceuticals and make-up products. In some instances the fake product will fall apart on second use, at worst it will end up causing you harm.

Last year it was estimated that as much as ten percent of all medicines provided on a global basis were falsified. This means medicines that either have too much of a vital ingredient, not enough of the ingredient or in some instances are down right toxic! It also means olive oil diluted with soy bean oil, honey consisting of sucrose, or threadfin slickhead masquerading as Alaskan cod, or …

If nothing else be a wise customer, for your own health and also for your own economy. In some European countries it is actually illegal to even own certain kinds of pirate copied products. For instance, the Netherlands will allow someone entering from vacation a maximum of three pirate copied items for personal use, anything in excess of that will be confiscated whereas the French police may be said to be the ultimate purse snatchers! French consumers in possession of pirate copied goods may face fines to the maximum amount of EUR 300,000 but also imprisonment up to 3 years! So far no one has been indicted on possession of such goods alone but caution is advised.