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Holiday "bargains" may be a rip-off, feds warn

Chris Caya WBFO News

Federal law enforcement agencies are warning consumers about fake goods flooding the market.

All products are fair game, from designer handbags and shoes to sports merchandise, electronics, jewelry, and everyday items such as toothpaste. U.S. Attorney James Kennedy says there have been a number of cases where money from counterfeit goods is traced to terrorist organizations.

Credit Chris Caya WBFO News
U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy speaks to reporters outside the Buffalo Sabres Store inside KeyBank Center on Tuesday.

"It may seem you get a shirt that's close enough maybe to an authentic Sabres jersey or something. But you're really doing multiple harms, beyond what you might even imagine, in terms of not only the manufacturers themselves, but maybe the conditions in which they're manufactured. You're hurting people there. And you could also be hurting our entire country by supporting terrorist organizations," Kennedy said.

Customs and Border Protection Field Operations Director Rose Brophy has a few tips for consumers.    
"Be careful when purchasing items online. Only buy from retailers you are familiar with. Bottom line, if the price seems just too good to be true, it probably is," Brophy said.   

Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly says it's estimated that knockoffs cost U.S. businesses $700 billion annually.