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Knockoff perfume, cosmetics can contain arsenic, rat poison, detectives warn

Fake designer make-up and perfume can contain toxic cyanide, arsenic, urine, or even rat droppings.<br>
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Fake designer make-up and perfume can contain toxic cyanide, arsenic, urine, or even rat droppings, Valentine’s day bargain hunters have been warned.

Detectives issued the advice after more than 500 suspected counterfeit items with an estimated value of more than $51,400 were seized in a raid on a fake perfume factory in London.

The police refused to reveal the exact location of the raid for operational reasons, but said it was carried out at the end of January.

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She said lab tests have shown counterfeit perfumes often contain toxic chemicals such as cyanide and even human urine.

Fake cosmetics, such as eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss and foundation are also been found to contain toxic chemicals as well as harmful substances such as arsenic, mercury and lead. They can cause allergic reactions, such as irritation of the skin, swelling, rashes, and burns – and leave users with long-term health problems.

Officers from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at the City of London Police carried out the raid. Hundreds of items, including suspected counterfeit perfume products were seized after an investigation by PIPCU.

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She warned that counterfeit make-up is often produced in unsanitized and unsanitary factories, and there are cases where the rat droppings, and rat poison are also found in fake cosmetics.

Officers also warned shoppers about the consequences of providing personal information to non-reputable sellers. She said that criminals often use personal information to commit fraud, such as registering fake websites.

PIPCU detectives have monitored the disturbance of more than 67,000 counterfeit websites, since the unit’s inception in 2013. They say counterfeit websites can be identified by making simple checks. A number of the sites are: poor spelling, grammar, images, and inconsistent fonts.

Detective Chief Inspector Teresa Russell, from PIPCU, said: “Valentine’s Day is a forger’s dream. With jewelry and perfume are popular gift choices, it is easy to fall into the trap of a cheap offer.

“The purchase of counterfeit goods online often results in your personal data will be used for the set of new fraudulent websites. Treat your Valentine to something legitimate from a reputable seller. Avoid heartbreak, do not buy fake.”

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Dr. Ros Lynch, Director of Copyright and Enforcement at the Intellectual Property Office, added: “We advise clients to keep Valentine’s day safe and special this year.

Counterfeit fashion goods, make up and electrical items are not only the result of criminal activity, but much can be harmful.”

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