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Speak out to catch the criminals

Caroline Nodder

I remember when I was a university student in Liverpool, our local pub – not the most salubrious of establishments – was often visited by a man in a white van selling cheap ‘branded’ clothing.

I remember when I was a university student in Liverpool, our local pub – not the most salubrious of establishments – was often visited by a man in a white van selling cheap ‘branded’ clothing. At the time I suspected it was either fake clobber from the Far East, or a few pieces of stock misappropriated by someone in the fashion supply chain. It didn’t occur to me that this might be the tip of a very organised criminal iceberg.

This week in Drapers we’ve uncovered a scam which might well be fuelling this illegal underground trade in stolen stock. When times are as tough as they are at the moment – or indeed were back then – the black market thrives, and our sector is now under attack from organised gangs who see an opportunity to exploit this demand.

With some of the top fashion brands being targeted, it is time to work together to stamp out this crime.

Speaking to indies and brands this week, many were shocked by the extent of this criminal activity and the audacity of it – simply driving falsely ordered stock off in a van. Many have been hit for thousands but are reluctant to talk about the exact figures involved, partly to protect the reputation of their brand, but also I suspect because they are too embarrassed to admit they have been scammed.

But to tackle this issue we need to shout about it.

Being scammed is nothing to be ashamed of. If a scam was easy to spot it wouldn’t work. But with something as organised and effective as this it is vital to tackle it head on.

If you have been affected, please report it to the police at the very least. And even if you haven’t, make sure you are not vulnerable in the future by reviewing your ordering process. 

Don’t let them get away with it.

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