Hundreds of listings for potentially counterfeit products have been removed from Instagram ahead of Black Friday in a joint crackdown by Trading Standards and Meta.
The listings included electrical goods such as phone accessories and potentially dangerous chargers as well as fake clothing and fashion accessories, jewellery, tobacco, car parts and copyrighted photographs.
The crackdown – which is ongoing – comes as a poll found just over a quarter of UK shoppers are considering or intending to buy fake products this year.
Almost two-in-five (37%) said they wanted to buy the same amount of presents as last Christmas, which Trading Standards warned could lure consumers into unknowingly purchasing cheaper but unsafe counterfeit products.
Electrical devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptops and accessories such as chargers and earphones are among those most likely to be bought by consumers seeking fake items this year, the poll found.
But Trading Standards warned they could be both poor quality and “incredibly dangerous”.
Previous research by the charity Electrical Safety First found that 98% of fake Apple chargers failed safety tests.
Recent Home Office data showed 10 UK house fires a day were caused by faulty appliances and leads.
Mike Andrews, national co-ordinator at the National Trading Standards eCrime team, said: “Removing counterfeit goods from Instagram means families will be safer this Christmas.
“Buying fakes can seem like a harmless way to get what you want for less, but counterfeiting is not a victimless crime. Aside from being poor quality, fake electrical goods can be a fire hazard, while copycat toys can be deadly to children as criminals don’t care about safety standards.”
Electrical Safety First chief executive Lesley Rudd said: “We urge people to be vigilant against counterfeit goods. It may seem like a bargain but the cost of buying fake electrical items could be that you or a loved one suffer an electric shock, or a fire starts in your home.”