As in previous tournaments, the peddlers of counterfeit goods are taking advantage of the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil in an attempt to make a quick buck. However, it appears they are scoring their own fair share of own goals. Detention and arrests of the perpetrators have hit the headlines again, alongside what has been an otherwise superb tournament.
So great is the lure to make a stack of Reals, there is a truly international line up of criminals. A 43-year-old Englishman has been arrested in Rio de Janeiro accused of selling fake tickets at more than 16 times the face value. US customs has seized high quantities of fake merchandise in Puerto Rico, resulting in arrests at the point of seizure and in China, the origin of the products. Fake shirts have been found for almost all participating nations, and 30 fake World Cup trophies have been seized in Paris.
Like all counterfeit cases, this is not a victimless crime. Thousands of fans have been turned away from venues when they have presented fake tickets for inspection. World cup themed fake mobile apps have been linked with the theft of personal information for use in fraudulent transactions from consumers. Consumers have been duped into buying replica shirts, and for one blogger who promised at the start of the tournament “if Spain didn’t win the group, I’d eat my Malaysian-made counterfeit Spain jersey I purchased off eBay”, the sub-standard material could have serious repercussions. The counterfeit circus that accompanies these events shows no signs of abating.
So, hats off to the Chinese workers for trying to bring some creativity to the counterfeit industry – the demand for fake hospital sick notes, signed dated to coincide with major matches, has soared changing hands for up to $50 a piece. Resourceful, to say the least.