Shoppers warned about possible fake items at stores as scammers ‘return’ counterfeit goods

Consumer Reports
Black Friday Shopping
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 30, 2015)– As people make holiday gift returns this time of year, the Indiana Retail Council is reminding stores and shoppers to be aware of counterfeit merchandise.

According to The Counterfeit Report, this is the time of year criminals will buy expensive items only to go back to the store and make returns using counterfeit goods. They get their money back and keep the real thing.  If the store doesn’t catch on, you could be buying a fake and never know.

“Retailers have to be cognizant of the fact that there could be fraudulent merchandise out there,” said Grant Monahan, President of the Indiana Retail Council.

Scammers can make a lot of money through selling fake stuff. Just this past October, Hancock County officers arrested two men for moving about a million dollars worth of counterfeit goods– North Face jackets, UGG boots and gloves, and even Beats by Dre headphones.

“There’s a great deal of money in it,” said Monahan.

Not only are you buying a fake product, it could also be dangerous.

The Counterfeit Report said counterfeit lab testing of fragrances revealed gross ingredients like urine and antifreeze and counterfeit Apple iPhone chargers have been known to cause fires.

Monahan said high-end counterfeit merchandise is very difficult to spot.

“Unless you’re an expert it’s really hard to tell,” he said. “It should be on the back of people’s minds.”

Consumer Reports advises shoppers to examine their products carefully and if something doesn’t seem right, report it to the store where you made the purchase and file a report with the local police.

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