Halton council Trading Standards is warning consumers about buying fakes during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The advice is if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Last year online sales were up by 46 per cent which suggests that more and more shoppers will be getting involved.

Forecasts reveal that UK shoppers are likely to spend more than £2 billion today and more than £8 billion in total by the end of Cyber Monday.

Halton Trading Standards officer Deana Perchard said: "Black Friday and Cyber Monday can create a lot of excitement as shoppers rush to get the best deals before stocks run out.

"This creates an ideal opportunity for scammers: there’s a pressure to act quickly, an urgency which means that you don’t take the time you normally would when making a decision and you don’t consider all of the information.

“International gangs of counterfeiters are all too ready to seize on opportunities to sell fakes and this shopping bonanza is too good for them to miss.

The internet is often their preferred means as they can hide behind fake identities. They can operate easily behind sophisticated looking sales sites, using fake trademarks, brands and emblems and even bogus certification labels to entice shoppers into thinking they are buying genuine, safe, products."

She added: "The reality is, of course, that consumers can often end up with nothing more that cheap tat and increasingly dangerous goods. According to customs authorities across Europe, over 37% of fakes picked up at our borders are now dangerous to consumers.

"But this sick trade brings other threats, as criminals continually work to steal our personal details and banking information,"

She said 25 per cent of UK consumers have been attacked during these sales periods and given access to our data, the criminals will then use our money to fund other serious crimes, such as drug trafficking, money laundering and child exploitation.

The anti-counterfeiting group says 30 per cent of all UK consumers will shop during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales period and it is vital that they are very watchful about any dubious offers.

Which magazine has put together a useful guide for shoppers to help protect themselves and Citizens Advice has joined the cause.

Citizen’s Advice reports that almost half a million consumer-related issues were dealt with last year, many of these related to undelivered parcels and fake goods and over 50,000 of these were in November 2018.

Their advice is:

Firstly, check who you are buying from. If you’re in the high street, go to a reputable store. If you’re online remember that over 83% of fakes come from China. So, if the web site or shipping address looks to be in China or Hong Kong, take extra care.

Don’t be too quick in committing your money.

Check the price of the product against other sites. You may even get the same deal from the original manufacturers.