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Public urged to beware of poppy merchandise scams

With just a few days to go before Remembrance, The Intellectual Property Office (IPO), whose main office is located in Newport, South Wales, is urging members of the British public to be extra vigilant when buying poppy merchandise for Remembrance this year.

Their donations are intended to support Armed Forces community men, women, veterans and their families. Instead they could end up benefitting fraudsters if their poppy merchandise turns out to be fake.

The Royal British Legion has registered its rights for the poppy goods to prevent such counterfeiting.

The IPO and The Royal British Legion have teamed up with the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) to crack down on the rogue traders making money from the fake Remembrance goods. The warning applies to poppy merchandise – scarves, jewellery, poppy pins and larger poppy brooches. This does NOT apply to the traditional paper poppies.

The PIPCU team has been targeting suspected sellers by visiting addresses and speaking with people in connection with this crime. In Autumn 2017, Border Force officers at Tilbury intercepted a shipment of poppy merchandise intended for the UK worth in the region of £150,000. Last week, Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards team seized more than 1,700 items of fake poppy merchandise destined for sale to the British public.

Intellectual Property Minister Sam Gyimah said:

“It is truly shocking that anyone would target and exploit one of the UK’s most cherished charities and take advantage of public support for our Armed Forces community.

“Together we can ensure donations go to the people they are intended for, by only supporting approved merchandise. Be vigilant when you are buying your poppies this year, and look out for the Royal British Legion logo to ensure the merchandise is approved and genuine.”

Fake poppy merchandise – what to look for

The public are being asked to look out for counterfeit goods in the shape, or bearing the image of, The Royal British Legion’s familiar two-petal red poppy, or Poppy Scotland’s four-petal poppy in Scotland.

To help consumers beat the fraudsters, here are the top tips to avoid buying fake poppy merchandise online:

  • Be a ‘responsible buyer’ – buy from official channels and The Royal British Legion’s corporate partners.
  • Avoid cheaper priced products. If the price is too good to be true, it usually is.
  • The Royal British Legion works with a number of corporate partners. Only corporate partners are authorised by The Royal British Legion to sell poppy merchandise – see the list here.
  • If in doubt, buy through The Royal British Legion at https://www.poppyshop.org.uk/ or The Royal British Legion official eBay or Amazon pages – you will be sure of the authenticity.

What to do if you think you’ve spotted fake poppy merchandise

Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or report it online at https://crimestoppers-uk.org  if you spot anyone selling what you believe to be fake poppy products.