Christmas Counterfeit Conundrum

Like many people, you?re probably waiting until this final week before Christmas to finish up your shopping. Many stores and online retailers run massive deals to remind you to get those last-minute gifts for your family and friends. However, as you go to the stores (or maybe online) to buy these gifts, you need to keep one thing in mind: counterfeit products.
Counterfeits always seem to be a problem, but usually they are easy to spot. With increases in technology, it has become more difficult to figure out if an item is actually counterfeit or not. Consumers not only lose money through the purchase of a counterfeit item, but also could put their health or lives at risk if the product is dangerous. Below are 5 common Christmas gifts that pose a significant risk to consumers if they are fake.
Electronics (especially phones & tablets):
New electronics are always a popular item for family members. Whether it?s a new phone, tablet, TV, laptop, or some other item, retailers always offer great deals on electronics to continue to spur sales. However, being wary of counterfeit electronics is extremely important, as they can be dangerous.
There have been several cases of counterfeit phones catching on fire, as they do not have the proper screen protectors to prevent overheating. Other items like tablets can also catch fire or explode if not constructed properly. Counterfeit electronics provide no guarantee of proper construction and should be avoided at all costs.
iPhone Chargers:
Maybe you want to buy a new iPhone for a family member, and are thinking about getting a cheap charger in addition to the phone. It is always nice to have an extra charger in addition to the one given to you with the phone, but cheaper is not always better.
A cheap charger bought online can easily be counterfeit, and these counterfeit products are dangerous. Indeed, a recent study shows that 99% of fake iPhone chargers fail basic safety tests. In instances of a power surge, these fake chargers can catch fire, making the few dollars saved not worth it.
Cosmetic items are another popular gift for the holidays, but fake cosmetics will harm your skin more than they will help. Counterfeit cosmetics bypass state laws and standards, and some have been found to contain poisonous chemicals like cyanide. Buying cosmetics in an actual retail store from a trusted brand is your best bet to avoid counterfeits.
For those 21 and over in the U.S., alcohol usually provides an excellent Christmas gift, especially for friends. However, across the globe recent examples of the dangers of counterfeit alcohol are apparent. Because counterfeit alcohol does not adhere to distilling guidelines, it can be brewed in a way that makes it dangerous. Indeed, some counterfeit alcohol that is poorly made can cause blindness. Again, visit an established retailer with brands you trust when buying this product.
Designer handbags:
While not necessarily dangerous, counterfeit designer handbags are a major issue for consumers. Some brands can cost thousands of dollars, so purchasing a handbag that is fake is a major economic hit for the consumer. Any deals for designer handbags that are ?too good to be true,? especially if found online, are probably counterfeit.

Overall, counterfeit operations have become much more intricate and complex, and that puts consumers at risk. Items bought in typical retail stores are usually fine, but items bought online can easily be counterfeit if not you are not paying attention. Always buy from trusted retailers and brands online, and when your product arrives, be sure to check trademarks, logos, and other key features of whatever product you have purchased to ensure it is real.