Don't let counterfeit products trick you this holiday season

ByDiane Wilson KGO logo
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

As you're shopping online or in stores this holiday, how do you know the item you're buying isn't counterfeit?

North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall's office investigates fake products and works to get the counterfeit products off of the streets.

"Whatever the hottest toy out for Christmas, someone is going to fake it. You're going to find inferior products, a lot of them break. If it's for children, they can cut themselves or swallow them," said Marshall.

Marshall showed us several fake Apple AirPods and iPhones her investigators have confiscated.

"Apple doesn't put stickers on their products. So when you see boxes with stickers, most of the time stickers are not going to be lined up very well," Marshall added. She said a big concern with buying fake products are safety and health concerns. "They are inferior products. You're hearing could be impaired, you could be shocked."

Another way to spot fakes is to look closely at the spelling.

She showed us bracelets her investigators got off the streets, and while they are supposedly Cartier, when you look inside the bracelet, you see the sure sign it's a fake, it's stamped is 'Cartear.'

Marshall also said to take a look at the stitching and packaging on purses and sporting goods as typically counterfeits are not done correctly.

While it seems innocent buying counterfeit products, Marshall said it's a form of theft. "You're stealing from everyone in the business cycle. The people who invented it, the people who manufactured it, the people who ship it."

One of the biggest red flags is if the price is too good to be true. You typically aren't getting the real deal.