Beware of Fake Designer Goods: Homeland Security

Homeland Security official gives tips on how to avoid knockoffs

Officials are urging South Floridians to beware of knockoff designer goods as the holidays approach.

Homeland Security Assistant Special Agent Gerard O’Neil met with the media Tuesday to raise awareness about not falling into the trap of spending hard earned dollars on products that are fake.

"If the deal is too good to be true, it is too good to be true," O'Neil said. "There are predators out there and they are looking to get your hard earned dollars."

Tell tale signs the items are fake, besides a deal that's too good to be true, are items with no serial numbers on them and poor packaging.

O’Neil also said buying products from a strange location is an indicator the items might be fake.

"Selling it out of the trunk of your car if you will or certain types of vendors operating stands," he said.

Not to mention they can be dangerous, because they aren’t made to manufacturer standards.

"In many cases with the cellphones and the batteries they can explode and if someone has the handset up to their ears, it could be a potentially harmful thing,” he said.

Though it might be nice to have a new Louis Vuitton bag for a third of the price, you also need to remember someone else has to make these products.

"They don’t work to the same standard that workers in the United States do," O'Neil said. "So it’s basically giving sanction to sweatshop-type working environments."

Buying knock-offs is also preventing from someone getting a job all together.

"These types of enterprises cost the U.S. millions of dollars and a lot of jobs," O'Neil said.

O'Neil said his field office has made 350 seizures during the last 12 months in knock-off goods worth an estimated $14 million. But they would have re-sold for an estimated $80 million.

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