Homeland Security warns shoppers about counterfeit products ahead of holidays

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Homeland Security Investigations is warning shoppers about counterfeit products ahead of the holiday shopping season.

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Homeland Security Investigations is warning shoppers about counterfeit products ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The agency seizes dozens of counterfeit products every year. As the holiday season approaches, agents said more knock off items will be for sale in stores and online.

Tim Meadows with Homeland Security explained the red flags to watch out for while you’re shopping, based on items he has seized in past years. According to Meadows, “Some of those had a retail price of $600, but the person paid $30 for them. If someone is trying to sell you something with that much of a discount, it’s either straight up stolen or it’s a fake.”

Some of the knock offs could by harmful. Meadows said, “There’s things like contact lenses that you put in your eye that are not FDA regulated. Another point to the contact lenses is you have to have a prescription to get contact lenses. So if you’re buying a contact lens from some beauty store, it’s not going to be regulated. You’re putting something in your eye that can do some pretty severe damage.”

Meadows added that if you’re on the distribution or selling side of the products, it won’t be taken lightly by HSI. He said, “There’s going to be all kinds of vendors selling stuff, like the ones you see behind me, that’s not valid for sale in the United States. So, we’re going to do target enforcement, and we’ll seize that. Again, this penalty for violating security is a 10 year federal sentence for trafficking counterfeit goods.”

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