Revenue 'actively monitoring' new Facebook selling feature for potential tax evasion and counterfeit goods

The low prices have fuelled suspicions that some of the items could be fake.

People selling and buying goods on Facebook are being monitored for potential tax evasion and counterfeit goods selling - writes dublinlive.ie.

It comes as Facebook rolled out a new feature which allows users to buy and sell goods in their area with many potentially counterfeit goods being advertised in Dublin.

The new feed, which sits between the home page and profile button on many people's handsets, displays items that have been tailored to fit the interests of users.

The items are picked based on what a person has previously looked at - but many of the sellers could be in breach of counterfeit and tax laws.

Depending on individual interests, items like branded make-up, watches, and clothes can all show up on the feed, with many advertised for well below their retail value.

The low prices have prompted suspicions that some of the items could be fake, which would break trademark laws and safety regulations, presenting a "serious risk" according to Revenue.

In a statement issued to Dublin Live customs said: "Counterfeit trade operates globally in the shadow economy evading tax, translating into lost revenue for legitimate businesses and their employees, loss of jobs, and often funding organised criminal gangs.

"Furthermore, counterfeit products are often found to be in breach of product safety regulations which may present a serious risk to the health and safety of the consumer.

"Revenue is alert to the risks posed by on-line trade and social media marketing.

"Identifying, targeting and confronting non-compliance in respect of online trading is a standard element of Revenue’s overall compliance framework.

"We use data analytics and many third party data sources to identify tax evasion.

"It is our standard practice to review social media and other online channels in the course of our risk analysis and case profiling work, cross-checking with our own data and the wide range of third party data available to us to identify."

It has also been noted that some accounts on the feature are advertising multiple items in mass quantities.

Gardai said that both they, and Revenue Customs, should be notified if someone is suspicious of goods saying: "The sale and distribution of fake and counterfeit goods is a matter for both An Garda Síochána and Revenue Customs Service.

"Gardaí advise anyone who is offered counterfeit goods for sale or has any information to contact and report the matter to their local Gardaí."

Facebook have yet to respond to queries by Dublin Live, but previously told the BBC that they were "working to improve" the service.

Last December, the social media giant came under criticism from brands such as Calvin Klein and Superdry after failing to take down knock-offs which were uncovered by the broadcaster.

The investigation saw a reporter meet up with sellers who openly admitted their goods weren't real - Facebook failed to block them from trading after being made aware of the findings.

Read more news of Dublin on our site.

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