Counterfeit electrical equipment can be tempting for budget-friendly post-secondary students heading back to school in the fall, but the dodgy purchases can pose a serious fire danger.

"The whole idea of counterfeiting a product is to make money," said Terry Hunter, from CSA Group, a not-for-profit association that promotes safety.

"The counterfeiters will cut every corner possible. So, using substandard parts, bypassing safety elements of an electrical product."

He showed CBC's Mike Crawley a table filled with counterfeit electrical equipment. One power bar started a fire and melted a thick electrical cord.

All the counterfeit products, including a laptop adapter and a computer fan, had fake safety labels plastered on them.

One travel iron with a fake CSA label had exposed wires in an area the user is supposed to fill with water.

'It might be cost-effective, but they do not meet the standards and that's a dangerous concern to us sometimes.'- George Wagner, the acting chief of prevention for Toronto Fire Services

All of these products can be "highly dangerous when you're talking about plugging into the electrical grid," he said.

A good way to avoid purchasing dangerous counterfeit electronics is by shopping at reputable stores.

George Wagner, the acting chief of prevention for Toronto Fire Services, warned shoppers about purchasing cheap goods on the internet.

"It might be cost-effective, but they do not meet the standards and that's a dangerous concern to us sometimes," he said.

Consumers can check the credibility of a product's safety approval on the CSA website.

With files from Mike Crawley