Police are investigating increased sales of fake goods in Windsor.
The financial crime unit received reports of people selling counterfeit merchandise out of the back of vans or trucks. Police said the sellers typically hang around the parking lots of big box stores and approach citizens, offering a price that is generally too good to be true.
In recent weeks, unsuspecting victims have purchased items such as iPhones, perfume, speakers, Beats headphones, power tools, handbags and golf clubs, according to police.
"It’s the first time we’ve seen people selling iPhones," Det. Glenn Gervais.
Gervais said new iPhones typically sell for approximately $700 but the fakes are going for $200 and $300.
"With high-end packaging, high-end appearance, people think they’re getting a good deal," Gervais said. "By the time they power the phones up and find out they’re fake, it’s too late."
Sellers claim the items are surplus. According to police, they also tell potential buyers they "came down to Windsor to deliver these items and they put extra on my truck. My boss (or company) won't know, so I am offering the items deeply discounted."
Sellers always ask for cash only. Police emphasized the items are not stolen, and are typically a counterfeit knock-off of the real item.
"The phones are close but not perfect. An unsuspecting consumer thinks they’re getting a good deal," Gervais said.
The suspects make a quick sale and are soon out of the area. The victim is left with what police call "a substandard product that often doesn't work."
"You should never buy anything high-end out of the back of someone’s car. I don’t know anyone that sells iPhones out of the trunk of a car. Usually you buy them with a contract," Gervais said.
The sale of these items constitutes trademark infringement offences which are detailed in the Criminal Code of Canada.