Feds Warn Holiday Shoppers – Don’t Be Ripped Off by Knock-Offs

Friday, November 28, 2014 | 7:40 pm

With the holiday shopping season about to go into high gear, federal authorities are warning consumers to be wary about buying counterfeit goods. While bargain prices make knock-offs tempting, officials say the savings come at the cost of quality and safety.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is hosting a media availability this morning to showcase examples of recently interdicted counterfeit merchandise, including cosmetics tainted with animal urine, lead-laced jewelry, and knockoffs of sought after handbag brands that sold to unwitting buyers for five figures.

With the emergence of copycat websites and highly sophisticated fakes, it is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to identify counterfeit products. At this morning’s availability, the media will be able to compare the “real” and the “steal” to try to tell the difference.

Last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and HSI seized more than 24,000 counterfeit items nationwide, up seven percent compared to the previous year. Had the seized goods been genuine, they would have retailed for more than $1.7 billion.

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