- Personal Finance»
- Understanding Finance
Knock Offs Fakes and Counterfeits What Are the Dangers?
Safe Fakes, How can they be dangerous?
Counterfeit designer handbags, knock off trainers/sneakers and fake name brand clothing, these are the types of fakes that many people do not think twice about. What is the big deal? Right? That was my first thought. Second to that thought was, if the companies did not charge the dear earth for the privilege of wearing their name there wouldn't be knock offs, fakes or counterfeit goods.
I will not buy any counterfeit goods but its not out of sympathy for the companies, tho they do lose money to the sale of fakes every year. I am a cynical person and think most big companies are greedy and I bet I am one in many for thinking that. So why do I avoid any and all fakes?
The answer is simple really. Counterfeiting is big business and totally illegal, it is criminal business. The criminal groups that produce and sell fake goods also support terrorism, human trafficking/slavery and illegal drugs production and distribution. Buying a counterfeit cd, dvd, handbag or branded item of clothing supports these criminal networks that create so much human suffering and I cannot bring myself to support that. My love affair with name brands is just not big enough to get me to buy a fake, instead I go for the lesser brand.
Counterfeit Goods for Kids, What every Parent Needs to Know
Parents, chances are when you are buying toys for your kids you are looking for two things. The perfect gift for your child and as much saving as possible when buying that toy. The unpleasant truth is, many toys in the market look genuine but are knock offs of name brand toys.
While these counterfeit toys appear to be just as good they could pose a danger to the most important people in your family, your kids. Counterfeiting experts find these toys can be made with toxic chemicals and lead based paints. Legitimate companies using these things to make their toys are often forced to recall and you as the purchaser have legal recourse if a toy is proved to be dangerous, a knock off distributer does not operate within the law and you are left with no recourse. The question you must ask yourself is, who made this toy?
In some cases you can tell a fake from the real deal by looking at the tags and packaging. Counterfeiters will often cut corners and leave out standard info such as the materials used to make it. The packaging can include spelling mistakes or other irregularities. If you are unsure about a product contact the manufacturer of that name brand toy, every major toy maker has a special phone line to field customer questions and should know if its the real thing.
Dangerous Fakes Everyone Should Watch Out For
We have already talked about the usual suspects in regards to fakes like handbags and clothing but the reality of counterfeiting is far more disturbing and scary. Reports of fake aircraft parts, liqueur and medicines have all been passed off as the real thing. One air plane crash has been attributed to counterfeit aviation equipment and hundreds of deaths in Russia are linked to fake vodka consumption.
Fake condoms could result not only in unwanted pregnancies but can also contribute to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. We all know that cigarettes are dangerous to begin with but counterfeit cigarettes have been found to contain excessively large amounts of dangerous chemicals that are controlled to some extent with legitimate tobacco companies.
Counterfeit medications can be readily found online but can make their way into countries like the US and be harder to spot as fakes. Counterfeit medicines look like the real thing but are made with cheap and sometimes dangerous ingredients. On this site a quote says "The FDA admits it has information on only 18 percent of the foreign drug manufacturers shipping to the U.S" and I find this pretty scary!
In addition to fake airline parts, vehicle parts that are fakes can be very dangerous! Take for instance fake break pads, do you want to rely on them to save your life? Car parts are frequently counterfeited and include suspension parts, brake pads and discs and even steering linkages all of which could cause a fatal crash should they fail.
Just in case I have not scared you yet batteries and electrical cords that are fakes are prone to catching fire and even the food you eat can be counterfeited. Perfumes containing urine and cheap 'alcopops' containing anti-freeze have all been found on counterfeit raids.
How about tea bags containing metal fillings, floor sweepings and mouse droppings? Fish is actually reported to be the most frequently faked food that americans buy. A cheap fish such as pen raised Atlantic salmon will be passed off as wild Alaska salmon. Many foods that are faked are poor quality foods being passed off as high quality ones and while not always dangerous it is still fraud. On product to look our for is a really inexpensive vanilla extract. Knock off vanilla extract is often made with coumarin, a toxic substance that was banned in the U.S since 1954. Coumarin is chemically related to warfarin, a blood thinner and can be dangerous.
Counterfeits, Buyer Beware!
While researching this topic I was amazed to learn about some of the items that are counterfeited and I expect you, the reader are probably also shocked. What can we do to combat this dangerous criminal activity? My suggestion is to always buy through a reputable seller. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
My hope is that if we, the public, educate ourselves to the dangers of buying counterfeit goods and avoid buying them in every instance we will limit the market for counterfeit goods, meaning its just not as profitable for these criminals. Lets make their job harder shall we? Maybe if we make it to hard to pass off a fake as the real thing they might go out and get a real job!
I would love to hear any comments you may have so please feel free to use the comment box below :).