Ho-Ho-Ho Hurt: Dangerous Fakes Threatening Online Holiday Consumers

By Ashley Mergen (Originally posted at Free Enterprise)

Twas the night after Thanksgiving, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, except for the computer mouse.

With next-day shipping and incredible deals, millions upon millions of consumers are opting for the convenience of online shopping to fulfill even the most fantastic of holiday wishes.

And while the stockings may be hung by the 24-hour Yule log channel with care, your gifts may not have received the same care. Counterfeit products purchased online and disguised as genuine brand-name gifts are entering our homes more and more, especially during the shopping season.

Illicit websites offering counterfeit goods that appear identical to the genuine products are growing exponentially, duping consumers into buying substandard, shoddy, and unsafe products. Consumers must know to take a little more care to discern legitimate online retailers from those pushing counterfeits, or a well-intended gift could end up being a dangerous fake, making your loved think they’ve been added to the naughty list when they open perfume laced with urine, phone chargers that explode and injure, makeup that causes rashes, kitchen knives that are dangerously flimsy, or children’s toys laced with lead.

And don’t forget to ensure that the lights on your tree are real, too. Otherwise, this could happen. The list for dangerous fakes is endless.

And not only do counterfeit goods jeopardize the health and safety of consumers, they also hurt U. S. jobs. Counterfeiting both online and in physical stores has proven to be a very lucrative business model, costing the U.S. economy $215 billion annually.

The holidays should be full of cheer, not of dangerous and unsafe gifts.  There are many things consumers can do to empower themselves and avoid bringing these perilous presents into our homes and the hands of our friends and family.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center recently issued 10 tips that could help reduce this risk.

Help us spread the word and hopefully save lives that online counterfeiting is not victimless. Visit www.DangerousFakes.com and engage on Twitter using #DangerousFakes to learn more about the scope of the problem and what you can do to ensure your holidays remain safe.

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