December 8, 2021
Fraudsters ramped up the manufacture of fake masks and sanitizer during the pandemic – and authorities are clamping down hard
Criminal gangs in the UAE have exploited the Covid-19 pandemic by making fake masks and copies of popular sanitizer products such as Dettol.
Despite a drop in the volumes of trade in fake goods at the height of the pandemic, criminals were constantly looking at new ways to make money, a workshop in Dubai found.
Hosted by the Legal Group, it showed how many gangs turned to make personal protective equipment, while the event also helped police and customs officers how to spot genuine products from fakes.
“During the pandemic [there were] more than 20 raids on factories producing face masks in the UAE,” said Hatem Abdel Ghani, partner at the Dubai law firm.
“[Authorities, with the assistance of The Legal Group] raided more than 50 factories making counterfeit Dettol. These criminals took advantage of the pandemic and started manufacturing high demand products.”
Mr. Ghani said there are simple and effective ways to spot a fake item. Missing serial numbers, untidy packaging, and traces of glue are just some of the simple indicators.
A lack of any guarantee and an unwillingness to provide paperwork should also set alarm bells ringing.
But the workshop also outlined how authorities were increasingly using artificial intelligence and technology to curb the availability of counterfeit goods, as well as vital on-the-ground information.