Most crime takes place in the public eye. Once it occurs, somebody immediately finds out. Whether it’s the victim of a group of witness it’s obvious something illegal has just taken place. However, some may become victims and go years, possibly decades, without realizing they have become a victim. Others might never find out.
These are victims of counterfeiting crimes. While fraud is often committed with the acceptance that at some point or another people will catch on, counterfeiting is a special form which aims to become part of the marketplace. Offenders replicate items in order to take advantage of the value associate with them.
Criminals most often counterfeit…
- Clothing and accessories
- Mechanical parts
- Consumer goods
- Software and entertainment products
These products are often a much lower quality than their genuine counterpart. Logos and brands will be slightly altered so as to avoid infringement allegations, or a full copied logo may be distorted due to the producer not having high quality files for assembly.
More importantly, the lower quality puts consumers at risk of non functioning, weak or toxic components. Counterfeit car parts may look like they’re from the manufacturer, but can fail almost immediately during use. Medicine can be counterfeited in unsterile environments which invites disease, or use poisonous chemicals.
Counterfeited goods are everywhere. The International Anti Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) estimates that, in 2015 alone, counterfeited goods accounted for $1.77 trillion entering the worldwide economy. The IACC also suggests several ways of spotting a fake:
- Research a business’s reputation- See what their history looks like.
- Train your eye- If it looks different, trust your gut.
- Look for red flags- If it seems too good to be true, it is.
- Search for overused words- In a weak attempt to convince shoppers, retailers may go overboard in telling how “real”, “authentic” or “genuine” a product is.
Although it may not always be that easy. Online shopping often uses third party suppliers to fulfill their stock who may, with or without their knowledge, be selling fake goods. Especially from sites like Amazon, buy directly from the manufacturer or ensure they provide a way in which you can authenticate the product before use.