|The holiday shopping season is underway and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection, and The Toy Association have teamed up to ensure consumers can make educated decisions when searching for the best deals this season.
The IPR Center launched a new holiday shopping toolkit to help consumers protect themselves from substandard or even hazardous counterfeit toys, electronics, cosmetics and other products.
The toolkit includes online shopping do’s and don’ts, ways to protect financial and banking information, educational videos and infographics, and general information on how to spot fake merchandise.
“Criminals don’t take the holidays off, so it’s important for consumers to be aware of ways they can protect themselves this busy season,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Director Carlton Peeples of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI collaborates with our law enforcement and private sector partners at the IPR Center year-round to combat the sale of counterfeit goods, which threaten public health and safety and impose high costs to the U.S. economy. Everyone can help identify and thwart counterfeiters, and this year, we encourage the public to use our holiday shopping toolkit to avoid becoming a scammer’s next victim.”
What’s the risk of buying counterfeit products? Counterfeit electronics can overheat and explode, bicycle helmets can break upon impact, phony cosmetics and health care products can be made with dangerous or unsanitary ingredients that should not be applied to the skin, and seasonal items for the home, like holiday lights, can be poorly wired and ignite fires.
Counterfeit goods not only cheat the consumer with substandard and potentially hazardous products, but the websites used can also put shoppers at risk of having their personal and financial data stolen for other nefarious purposes. Online shopping is particularly vulnerable to scams that trick the user into buying counterfeit and pirated goods.
IPR Center Launches New Toolkit to Help Holiday Shoppers Avoid Scams