The Consumer Fraud Center said holiday shoppers were ripped off by counterfeit and fake goods sold by cybercriminals in excess of $2 billion for the period of November-December 2012. The heaviest counterfeiting took place in clothing, accessories, drugs, toys, electronics, personal care, beauty items, CDs, DVDs and video games. ComScore saw 16 percent growth in online shopping from last year with almost $40 billion in goods bought online by consumers this holiday season.
James Lee, executive director of the Consumer Fraud Center, said they have tracked the steady growth in global trade in counterfeit and fake goods from 1.85 percent in 2000 to almost 5 percent last year – amounting to $600 billion in counterfeit goods. “Cybercriminals have adapted to online sales, especially exploiting weaknesses in the international supply chain such as using
Amazon Marketplace’s direct shipping initiative and Amazon Pages to build illegitimate stores on legitimate websites.
Lee said they estimate the growth in counterfeit sales to double each year unless stopped either by retailers acting voluntarily to halt these sales, or through federal and state governments enacting more rigorous consumer protections.
If you bought a counterfeit or fake item online, immediately dispute the charge with your card issuer or PayPal, and report it immediately to appropriate law enforcement agencies such as the Internet Crime Complaint Center or the Consumer Fraud Center’s complaint system. If the business is located in the United States or Canada, file a complaint with the BBB at http://bbb.org/complain.