Shropshire Star comment: True cost of so-called bargains
In recent years, trading standards officers across the region have seized millions of pounds worth of fake goods.
And a large proportion of those seizures have come around Christmas time, when crooks are fully aware that more people than usual are out looking for a bargain.
This year will certainly be no exception, and shoppers are advised to be on the lookout for poor quality imitations which could easily take the shine off the festive season.
There has been a rise in the number of online sellers offering next-day delivery on toys that are out of stock elsewhere, with buyers only finding out that the items do not exist once they have handed over their cash.
Not only do such items leave people out of pocket, they can also be dangerous.
There have been numerous occasions where trading standards officers have seized fake booze, such as vodka and gin that contains extremely harmful chemicals.
There have been instances where people have been blinded after consuming dodgy alcohol, while fake perfume had caused people to receive burns on their skin.
Experts warn that fake toys can contain toxic materials, damage hearing and pose choking or strangulation risks.
Aside from the health risks, counterfeit sales also have a negative effect on our local economy.
With high streets all around the region struggling, due largely to the continuing rise of online shopping, our local stores need all the help they can get.
We should all be committed to using the legitimate shops in our community.
No right-minded person can be happy lining the pockets of criminals.
There is no doubt that fake items are increasingly hard to detect just by looking at them.
But while the product may look legitimate, it does not usually take long for the reality to dawn on the unsuspecting buyer.
As the old adage goes, if something is too good to be true, it usually is.