Some of the most popular e-commerce sites are being misused by ruthless sellers as a platform to exploit online shoppers, exposing them to thousands of substandard, counterfeit and suspected recalled electrical goods.

Electrical Safety First discovered a shocking one-in-three UK residents, the equivalent of 18 million people, have mistakenly purchased a counterfeit electrical item online. These people were led to believe that the product they were buying was genuine, only to discover a fake delivered to their homes, posing a potential risk of electric shock or fire.

Millennials are most likely to fall victim to counterfeit scams, as new research shows around half of 25 to 34-year-olds have been conned into buying fake electrical goods online. In contrast, less than 10 per cent of people aged 55+ have received a counterfeit item after shopping on e-commerce websites.

A further investigation by the charity uncovered dangerous electrical goods for sale across a selection of e-commerce sites, including Amazon, Amazon Marketplace, eBay and Fruugo. The type of products causing concern included tumble dryers, Kodi boxes, kettles, travel adaptors, and hair straighteners.

Electrical Safety First’s technical experts identified a variety of frightening safety flaws with the products, including a serious lack of protection from electric shock and the potential to cause a fire. Alarmingly, a number of goods advertised also matched items listed on the charity’s product recall list.

The charity said these online sites must work harder to protect consumers from the dangers of counterfeit goods, as new research shows one-in-seven people have suffered damage or loss as a result of a fake electrical item they’d purchased online.