Protecting Consumers During the Holiday Rush

Be Safe Buy Real

Smart Shopping:

Protecting Consumers During the Holiday Rush 


— 5 Takeaways from Christina Mitropoulos, INTA


FB Live Christina



The holiday shopping season has arrived, which comes with one certainty: elevated counterfeiting. Studies have shown that more than half of consumers believe that they unknowingly may have purchased a fake item during the holiday season. As shopping ramps up, it’s important to equip brands, retailers and consumers with the knowledge and tools they need to shop safely.  


On November 2, three anti-counterfeiting experts joined Be Safe Buy Real for a Facebook Live event — “Smart Holiday Shopping: How to Avoid Counterfeits This Season” — to discuss current counterfeiting trends and advice for making holiday shopping safer. One of those experts, Christina Mitropoulos, Director, External Relations — Anti-Counterfeiting at INTA, has dedicated her professional career to educating individuals on the negative impacts of counterfeiting.  


Following are her 5 keys for brands, retailers, organizations and even consumers in standing up for what’s real. 


Education is crucial 


Education and public awareness play a huge role in the fight against counterfeit products. Intellectual Property is obviously the foundation for a lot of different industries, and we can do everything we can on the law enforcement, policy, or advocacy side to educate people. But if we're not educating consumers and we're not driving down that demand, then we'll always be going around the hamster wheel and our work will continue. 


Connect with consumers in innovative ways 


Trying to find strategic and innovative ways to educate consumers on the harms that counterfeits have is really important. For example, with INTA’s Unreal Campaign, we’re trying to find new messaging that resonates with young consumers about the harms of these products. These consumers are very digitally savvy, so we try to meet them where they are.  


Create a dialogue  


Obviously, we're not going to change every consumer's mindset. There will always be a portion of the population that will want counterfeits. And you can try to give them all of the reasons in the world why they should not buy counterfeits, but they still will do it. It's important to try to reshape the mindset and mentality of those consumers. That’s where a two-way dialogue comes in. We want to encourage open discussion of past counterfeit purchases — whether they were intentional or not — so we can begin to educate consumers about the consequences of those purchases.   


Consumers have significant influence  


Consumers have the power of decision. They decide how they’re spending their money. Regardless of whether they want to put those dollars towards a counterfeit or legitimate, authentic products still matter. Consumers have incredible influence over their family and friends’ purchasing power. If you buy a product you really like, your friends and family might be more likely to buy the same thing. That’s why it’s so important to buy real products.  


Be diligent and dogged  


Counterfeiters are active every single day, 24 hours, so they don't care what platform they're selling counterfeits. If they get shut down on one platform, they will easily move to another. I encourage you to do your due diligence, find where these products are coming from, who is selling them, and then use that information when you're shopping online or in person.