The Facts About Fakes

Many people believe buying a fake designer purse or a fake cellphone charger is harmless, and they are just getting “a good deal.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Counterfeiters are criminals who offer inferior goods that imitate legitimate, quality products. And while those inferior goods may come with a lower price tag, they can also come with increased health and safety risks for innocent consumers. The mission of the Be Safe/Buy Real Campaign, launched in 2019, is to help consumers make informed buying decisions that will keep them and their families safe.

Just about everything can be counterfeited including electronic equipment, batteries, car parts and pharmaceuticals. The infographic shows the “10 Most Counterfeited Products.” A recent analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) suggests counterfeit goods comprise at least 3.3% of global trade — and more for electronics and other electrical goods.

When purchasing products at a store or online, always make sure you are purchasing from a legitimate distributor. Many legitimate manufacturers have lists of authorized distributors on their websites. Research by the OECD and the EUIPO suggested most electronic machinery and equipment products on secondary markets are counterfeit. In most cases, if the price is too good to be true, it probably is.

Counterfeiting is not a “victimless’ crime” — it poses significant health and safety risks to consumers, industry and society, as the infographic “Counterfeiting: Know the Dangers” shows. Industry’s risks range from innovation to loss of jobs, while society may experience everything from increased enforcement costs to loss of tax revenues for other public purposes.

Counterfeiting can also accompany or support other criminal activity, as the infographic “5 Criminal Activities that Benefit from Counterfeits” shows. Counterfeiting may mask money laundering schemes, and proceeds from counterfeiting can support other criminal enterprises or even terrorism. Finally, creating and selling fake products can generate a demand for human trafficking of people to work in counterfeit-goods factories with unsafe and other substandard conditions.

Finally, if you work with electrical products, install them, or just use them, remember to keep yourself and your loved ones safe by following the tips below from the Electrical Safety Foundation International. Our mission at Underwriters Laboratories is to “Make the World a Safer Place.” Please follow the tips shared to protect yourself and your family.

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