Buying designer goods at a significantly reduced price may seem like a nice way to save money. But when these items are made to look exactly like a name-brand item in an attempt to deceive buyers, they’re considered illegal counterfeit goods.
Most Common Counterfeits
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration, apparel, electronics and shoes top the list of the most frequently seized counterfeit goods. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products land at No. 5; the Food and Drug Administration cautions consumers about the dangers of ordering prescription drugs online, citing cases of fake Botox, Cialis and Altuzan, among others.
How to Spot the Difference
When it comes to clothing and other merchandise, how do you know if you’re buying the real thing or an illegal imitation? Design experts say it’s in the details. Look at tags, stitching and labels closely. Shop at authorized retailers and watch out for missing sales tax charges.
Effects of Counterfeiting
In addition to the physical harm taking a fake drug could have, counterfeit goods can have legal and economic consequences for buyers and sellers. And while you’re probably not going to be arrested for owning a phony Louis Vuitton bag in the United States, you could be fined for buying a counterfeit item in some European countries.
Human Rights Issues
It’s important to be aware of the human rights violations that often go along with the manufacture of imposter goods. Many are produced in sweatshops associated with organized crime and often violate child labor laws. And many of these workers are forced to work for little to no pay.
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