RCMP in Manitoba are urging holiday shoppers to be aware of fake goods, particularly Jets jerseys, which are one of the hottest items for shoppers and counterfeiters alike.
RCMP have confiscated more than 350 of the knock-off jerseys in just the past two months. The jerseys are among the more than $1 million worth of counterfeit goods the Mounties have seized in the last year in Manitoba.
Other popular products include electronics, jewelry, designer apparel, perfume, satellite equipment, bicycle helmets, light fixtures, automobile parts, circuit breakers, shampoo, batteries, and even fake Viagra pills — all of which can pose serious hazards for consumers.
"You don’t know where it's being made if it’s not a legitimate manufacturer of the item," said Cpl. John Montgomery with the RCMP Federal Enforcement Section.
"And really, you dont know what it's made of. They're making a counterfeit product, so they're not held to any manufacturing standard."
The RCMP in Winnipeg on Tuesday held its second annual counterfeit goods open house to display some of the items. Since 2009, they have siezed more than $56 million worth of counterfeit goods in Canada.
In addition to the risks of buying and using substandard products, there is an economic impact as well.
"These knockoff items represent a direct loss to Canadian workers, manufacturers, and retail distributors," said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Miles Hiebert.
Sending up red flags
Tips and indicators to help consumers detect counterfeit products:
- If the price is too good to be true, it’s likely fake.
- Compare prices.
- Be wary of shopping online; do your due diligence on the company you are dealing with and ask questions on the return policy.
- If shopping online, be aware that the item(s) shown in a picture may be genuine, but what you see may not be what you receive.
- You pay for what you get. High-end items, particularly in women’s fashion, should reflect the designer quality.
- Counterfeit items often have substandard material craftsmanship.
- Watch for packaging. Often the packaging has been tampered with and products normally sold in packages are being sold individually.
- If you note spelling mistakes on the product or packaging, it’s likely counterfeit.