Online shoppers are being urged to be extra cautious this Christmas after counterfeit cosmetics were seized from an online seller based in the borough.
More than £1,000 worth of counterfeit cosmetics including mascaras and eyebrow pencils were seized from a property in Middleton last week following an investigation conducted by Rochdale Borough Council's trading standards team.
The seized products were fakes and therefore deemed unsafe for public use as they could cause serious complications such as allergic reactions, infections and burns.
'Counterfeit products put the safety of our residents at risk'
The council will now decide what enforcement action to take against the seller.
Councillor Sara Rowbotham, the council's cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "Fake cosmetic products are often untested and can be unsafe due to high levels of heavy metals or other dangerous substances. We will not tolerate the selling of counterfeit products because it puts the safety of our residents at risk.
"I would like to urge everyone to take care not to be duped by an apparent bargain this Christmas, because it will probably be too good to be true and you could end up paying for it with your health."
'Take care not to be duped this Christmas'
The council's trading standards team is urging shoppers to follow these 10 tips for safe online shopping, especially during the festive sales period:
1. Trust your instincts - if an offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Remember legitimate designer items are rarely discounted.
2. Check the spelling and grammar on the website and URL - the people behind these sites don't often pay a lot of attention to these details.
3. Look to see where the trader is based and whether they provide a postal address - just because the web address has 'UK' do not assume the seller is based in the UK. If there is no address supplied or there is just a PO Box or email, be wary.
4. Only deal with reputable sellers - use sites you know or ones that have been recommended to you. If you have not bought from the seller before then check online reviews.
5. Ensure the website address begins 'https' at the payment stage - this indicates a secure payment.
6. Keep security software and firewalls up-to-date. Regularly update your internet browser when a new patch-security update is released.
7. Don't access links in unsolicited emails - fraudsters will design these so they look genuine and trick victims into entering personal information.
8. Ask the trader if there is a returns policy or guarantee. Most rogue traders will not offer this.
9. If you are not sure whether the items are genuine, do not enter your payment details - it is not worth the risk.
10. Watch out for pop-ups appearing asking you to confirm your card details before you are on the payment stage. Never enter your PIN online.
Report any concerns about counterfeit products to Citizens Advice Consumer Services: