HONOLULU (KHON2) — If you still need to find a Christmas gift, there is a new toolkit to help you stay away from counterfeit products.
Customs and Border Patrol agents seized $2.5 billion worth of counterfeit merchandise in just under one year.
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To help combat the sale of counterfeit goods, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR) has a new toolkit to help you find the gift you are truly looking for.
John F. Tobon, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Honolulu, said the impacts go beyond the economy.
The toolkit not only gives consumers information about how to protect themselves, but goes into the dangers of these fake items — like to the health of you and your family.
“You’re buying products that, you know, may be counterfeit makeup, counterfeit medicine, even counterfeit baby formula, which can have adverse health effects,” Tobon said.
Your well-being isn’t the only thing at risk, according to Tobon. Many counterfeit goods are sold on third-party sites designed to steal personal information.
“When you purchase these products, you’re getting a product that’s going to be a physical danger and then you have the potential to also be in financial danger.”John F. Tobon, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Honolulu
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Some other tips from HSI include, reporting counterfeit goods to the IPR Center website, so authorities know where to look in their investigation. When buying anything online, go directly to the brand’s website and do not use third-parties.