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How to avoid buying fake products this holiday season

Posted at 1:26 PM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 15:26:03-05

How can you be sure that the designer shoes or watch that you bought is really what you think it is? Whether it’s sheets, phone chargers, makeup, e-cigarettes or medicine, fakes are a problem for consumers that is only getting worse. Counterfeiting is now the largest criminal enterprise in the world. The trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is currently a $1.7 trillion per year industry—that’s more than drugs and human trafficking—and is expected to grow to $2.8 trillion and cost 5.4 million jobs by 2022.

When fraudulent products enter the market, consumer safety is jeopardized, and people lose confidence in the brands they trust. Companies are spending over $105B annually in additive anti-counterfeit packaging, however the technology now available to help make fake packages look credible is easy to obtain and inexpensive. Even some of today’s most widely accepted security measures are being closely duplicated.

Did You Know?

  • More than 80% of fragrance firms in France have reported issues with counterfeit fragrances over the past 5 years. (Many of these firms import to the U.S.). Urine, bacteria, anti-freeze, beryllium, cadmium and lead have been found in counterfeit perfume [nam03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] sold to U.S. shoppers with labels such as Gucci, Chanel and Prada.
  • 85 percent of the cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control said that patients vaped illicit THC cartridges, which they admittedly purchased through the black market.
  • Last year, officials in Los Angeles seized $700,000 worth of counterfeit cosmetics from a well-known outdoor shopping area. Knock-off products included high-end brand names Urban Decay, NARS, MAC and Kylie Cosmetics. Lab tests of the products indicated the makeup was contaminated with high levels of bacteria and feces, according to ABC News in Los Angeles.

Selling empty bottles of wine is a huge business on eBay and other online sites. Counterfeiters buy and refill bottles with often dangerous ingredients such as methanol. Refilling is a very serious problem and current anti-fraud measures that wine producers are employing do little to protect against