Friday, January 25, 2008
Don't Be a Victim: Fake Products
There is an alarming trend in the sale of fake merchandise. Consumers dish out millions of dollars thinking they are buying the real thing, but as Seven's Dave Kartunen explains you can avoid being a victim by knowing what to look for.
WSVN -- From purses, watches and all kinds of bling, celebrities can't get enough of them and neither can we, but it's not cheap. Carrying or wearing some designer goods can cost thousands, and criminals know we're willing to spend it.
Police officer: "They are ripping off the consumers like you and me."
It's so common, Miami-Dade Police has detectives assigned to sniff out fakes. They've made some busts in the millions.
Sergeant Javier Bruzos of the Coral Gables Police: "The money that they acquire from selling those fake products could be used and is used to front criminal activity."
Bruzos, of Coral Gables Police, says even the most savvy shoppers can get taken, but don't be a victim.
Bruzos: "When you are going to purchase something, especially if it's high-end, what you want to do is a little bit of research."
Know the little details about the product that makes it unique. There are three main things to look for. First, the stitching.
Bruzos: "The stitching is going to be very well done. The stitching is not going to be lose or coming apart."
Second, feel the material.
Bruzos: "The fakes tend to be very rigid, rough and sturdy."
And, third, it's all about the zipper.
Bruzos: "If the zipper is very hard to open and close, like this one."
Dave Kartunen: "These tips make it easier to spot a fake in the store, but how can you tell online? The counterfeit business is booming on the 'net, but you don't have to be fooled. There are four easy rules to follow, so you won't be a victim."
First, when you see something you like online, ask for plenty of pictures.
Bruzos: "If you are buying the product and the person selling the product only has a couple of pictures that's something you have to think about."
Second, look for words that indicate it's a knock off.
Bruzos: "A lot of criminals are selling items, and, when you read the description of the item, automatically it would say, 'Inspired by this particular company or that particular company.' But what that is telling you is that what you are purchasing is not an authentic product."
Third, don't count on the price telling you anything.
Bruzos: "These criminals have gotten really smart. What they do is they put their price at the same level as the price of a legitimate product."
Dave Kartunen: "If you buy a knock-off, but pay the real price, you should report it to the police. If you charged it on your credit card, you can claim it to insurance."