BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Better Business Bureau is warning about counterfeit merchandise being sold online.
A new report by the BBB, describes the growing problem as an epidemic. The report says ads on social media are leading many people to websites that sell counterfeit items.
“One in four Americans have actually purchased a counterfeit item online,” said Ande Kral, the Communications Manager the BBB of South and Central Alabama.
Kral says the counterfeit merchandise is usually name a brand item that looks totally different when it arrives at your home. If you fall victim, it’s not just losing money you have to worry about.
“When you start purchasing things like makeup or pharmaceuticals, or even batteries, a lot of these counterfeit items contain harmful materials not approved by the FDA,” explained Kral.
The BBB has traced a lot of these sales back to China and Hong Kong. The organization believes the websites are being created by huge criminal groups that use pictures from legitimate retailers.
“We’ve had instances with NFL jerseys that people thought they were buying from a site that the domain registry was in China, but they said they were located here in Anniston,” said Kral. “The jersey did cost $77, so that’s pretty close to the retail value.”
If you fall victim to counterfeit merchandise, report it to your credit card company. Kral says in many cases, they will help you recover your money. She also says it’s important to report it to the BBB.org, so they will have a record. That way they can warn other people about the fake merchandise.