Fake products are costing you more than you think

Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 06:00:39-05

A big warning is coming from crime experts about counterfeit products costing you much more than you think.

Recent crackdowns by the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition are highlighting the immediate need for action. More anti-crime agencies are focusing on these violations, too.

"We feel scared just like every consumer should be scared," said Anne Harkins. She’s the President and CEO of the National Crime Prevention Council.

She's seen what can happen when fake batteries and electronics aren't made with overheating solutions built in.

There can be big differences inside real products and the fake products. Harkins showed us one item made by Canon and the fake duplicate had a bunch of missing parts inside.

Then, there's the financial impact of the fakes.

"The economic losses from counterfeit and pirated products are about 750,000 jobs per year and over $250 billion in lost revenue,” said Harkins.

"There’s more trouble if you buy counterfeits say at a flea market instead of a local store. That's a tax loss to the community,” explained Harkins.

There are health concerns surrounding fake prescription drugs that have been made of things like paste, wax and ground up drywall.

On top of all of that, experts told us many counterfeits are linked to organized crime with profits paying for things like human trafficking, child labor and gang violence.

"And we've found when people learn about those potential risks, they're likely to change their behavior and not go for the bargain because in the end, it's not really a bargain at all," Harkins said.

Your best bet to avoid counterfeit problems is to deal with reputable businesses and authorized dealers.