By Craig Crosby
Bargain prices on popular cosmetics and perfumes are hard for consumers to pass up, but it just may be the safe and wise decision. The FBI and the National Intellectual Property Rights Center (IPR) want you to know that there is an abundance of dangerous counterfeit cosmetics and fragrances offered on the internet that are deceptively similar in appearance to the authentic product, but that’s where the similarities end.
While there may be little difference visually in the product and packaging, there is no guarantee of testing or quality ingredients in counterfeit products says Craig Crosby, publisher of the popular consumer protection website The Counterfeit Report® (www.TheCounterfeitReport.com). In addition to not receiving authentic fragrances or results, counterfeit products have been found to contain dangerous ingredients like arsenic, beryllium, DEHP (a plasticizer with health risks) and cadmium (all known carcinogens), urine and antifreeze, along with high levels of aluminum and dangerous levels of bacteria. These chemicals can cause conditions like acne, psoriasis, rashes, and eye infections.
Counterfeit versions of popular high end cosmetics and fragrances are big money and little risk for counterfeiters and dishonest re-sellers on eBay, Amazon, Craig’s List and Facebook. Often listed as “Authentic” or “100% Genuine,” dishonest sellers use the manufacturer’s advertising photos in the listing to deceive unsuspecting buyers. Only side-by-Side comparisons show just how difficult it is to visually tell the counterfeit from the authentic product.
“There are serious quality issues with counterfeits, and the lack of value for consumers” says Crosby. “People feel they have confidence in the iconic businesses — Amazon, eBay and Groupon — but we see that confidence is misplaced when these businesses show or perform in a deceptive manner.” Because of the dangers to the public, The Counterfeit Report recommends that you buy from directly from the manufacturer or their authorized retailers, avoid online websites, flea markets and street vendors, pay with a credit card, and when in doubt, visit an authorized retailer and compare your item to a known authentic item.
Industry experts estimate that one in five shoppers are being duped, and likely you may be also. So, when (emphasis added) you get stuck with a counterfeit, you suspect someone of selling counterfeit items, or someone you know purchased counterfeit cosmetics or fragrances, submit a tip to The Counterfeit Report website who will forward to the manufacturer, the National IPR Center and if appropriate, eBay and Amazon.
The Counterfeit Report ® is the first and only website to provide consumers a free and informative visual guide for detecting counterfeit products of over 200 global brands. Thousands of product photos show consumers the sophistication of counterfeiters and their ability to create visually identical counterfeit products and packaging specifically designed to deceive. The website offers consumer education and awareness, while providing manufacturers with brand protection. Consumers can also report seeing or purchasing counterfeit products directly to the manufacturer on the website. Manufacturers have an immediate resource to list and update their counterfeit product information in a central venue for the greatest mass-audience exposure.