From handbags and designer gowns to foods and prescription medications, counterfeit goods are all around us. These imposter products cost industry billions of dollars, suck money from the legitimate economy and even help fund crime and terrorism. While buying one of these counterfeit products may seem like no big deal, the problems associated with designer imposters are greater than you think.
In the case of counterfeit food and medication, the risks are far greater. While buying a fake designer purse simply means being taken for a ride, buying a prescription medication or food from a sketchy source could put your health at risk. Phony drugs and medications are often adulterated with dangerous products or contain untested or unproven ingredients, and their use could result in serious illness, hospitalization or worse.
Know the Warning Signs
The good news is that counterfeit goods can often be spotted before you put your hard-earned money down. The makers of these imposter products do not have the budgets, or the skills, of the legitimate manufacturers, and the corners they cut come through in a number of ways. Here are five telltale signs that the product in your cart is a phony.
- The price is too low. This may be the biggest warning sign of all, and one you should not ignore. If the price is a mere fraction of retail, you need to ask yourself some serious questions.
- The original packaging is gone. The makers of high-end products work hard to present their goods in the best possible light, with fancy packaging and other accouterments. If the seller is offering the same product in a plastic bag, chances are it is either counterfeit or stolen.
- The seller is suspect. If you are shopping at a flea market or roadside stand, chances are the designer purse you are looking at is not the real deal. Always consider the source when buying designer goods, or any product purported to be legitimate.
- There are obvious imperfections. The presence of obvious imperfections, like mismatched colors, threads that are pulling away and scuffed leather, should make you question the authenticity of the product. The makers of designer goods are sticklers for quality, and imperfections like these should have sent the product back to crop-out bin.
- Something just does not seem right. Always trust your gut when buying designer products, or any products. If something just does not seem right, it is best to walk away.
Counterfeit goods are not going away, and if anything the counterfeiters are getting better at what they do. Whether you are in the market for a high-end handbag, a great dress for an upcoming party or anything else, knowing the warning signs of a counterfeit is the best way to protect yourself and your hard-earned money.