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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — US Customs and Border Protection officials have seized a record number of counterfeit goods and the items that get through are often sold on popular websites. In some cases, the goods are not only fake but can also be dangerous.
In a recent investigation, the Government Accountability Office purchased dozens of items from third-party sellers on sites like Amazon and Walmart. They found 20 out of 47 were counterfeit.
Special Agent in Charge David Abbate is with Homeland Security Investigations and showed CBS News confiscated counterfeit goods, from Urban Decay makeup, fake surge protectors, counterfeit brake pads and even fake airbags. He even had knock-off overhead sprinklers.
“Consumers are at risk and that’s why we say buyer beware,” according to Abbate.
Authorities are also seeing plenty of counterfeit prescription drugs. Everything from Viagra to cancer drugs and painkillers.
“It’s coming in it’s usually coming from China and it may or may not be what the consumer thinks it is and if you’re ingesting something that you don’t know what it is or against doctors orders it could be very harmful,” said Abbate.
Companies like Apple have sued third party sellers for hocking counterfeit goods. The e-commerce sites listed in the government report say they have a zero tolerance policy for counterfeits.
“The biggest and basic issue is, it looks too good to be true it probably is,” said Abbate.
Officials say if you want to make sure you are getting the real thing, you should buy directly from the manufacturer, and avoid third party sellers.