Product counterfeiting is currently a $300 billion-a-year criminal industry; this is not chump change by any means. And when it comes to which products are being counterfeited, the scams might run deeper than many would have ever believed.
When people think of counterfeit products, most immediately name money, purses, and other similar luxury products. But, according to a breaking report by ABC News, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, enterprising criminals are faking everything including wine, makeup, and even shampoo — products that, if improperly manufactured, could have potential safety issues for consumers.
As investigators point out, not every counterfeit is known to the consumer. While people buying “designer purses” for $50 from a street vendor might realize it’s not authentic, many of the products are actually being sold in legitimate stores — and store owners are often completely unaware. This past March, one of the largest counterfeit operations in U.S. history was finally busted — and the products, which included fake VapoRub, Chapstick and baby oil, were being sold in multiple stores throughout Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.
As Rop Repta, a senior designer with Design Packaging, Inc, points out, even the packaging is often fraudulent, further misleading consumers. He recommends that people pay attention to things like coloration, how the logo appears, and poor craftsmanship when it comes to components of packaging like gluing or wrapping. Many consumers might experience “wrap rage” when they can’t open their blister packaging; if it’s too easy to remove, though, that might be a clue that the pills you bought aren’t legitimate. “The best way consumers can know they’re purchasing an authentic item, is purchasing products directly from the company or an authorized dealer, and understanding the brand both visually and tactually,” he advises.
Overall, if something seems suspicious, or like too good of a deal? Follow the age old advice: it probably is.