How can you make sure you're not buying counterfeit gifts this holiday season?
'Tis the season for holiday shopping. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, do you know how to make sure your gifts are real?
It's important to know that if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are warning consumers ahead of the shopping season to be aware of counterfeit goods - especially this year as supply chain issues make many items tougher to get. Officials say knockoff smart phones, shoes, cosmetics and high-end goodies like watches, belts and handbags are flooding the market.
They urge shoppers to only buy from legitimate sellers online and to shop at reputable stores. Most importantly, they say to use common sense.
"If Air Jordans are going to sell for $800 somewhere and you see them for $200, that's a red flag. It's all about common sense and educating yourself, and it's not about taking a risk," says Homeland Security Investigations New York Deputy Special Agent Erik Rosenblatt. "You should just know that the probability of you finding something outside the normal chain of vendors on the streets, like websites that seem to be ridiculous, you just count on the fact that you're wasting your money."
Officials say avoiding counterfeit items saves you money and keeps you safe, since knockoffs can be made with hazardous materials.