How can online shoppers avoid buying fake and stolen goods?

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Throughout the pandemic, e-commerce has played a pivotal role in bringing products to Ohio families’ doorsteps.

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Unfortunately, fraudsters and professional thieves are taking advantage of this growth in online shopping by peddling their counterfeit and stolen goods to unsuspecting shoppers.

Hiding behind fake screen names and bogus businesses they easily set up on third-party marketplaces like Amazon and Facebook Marketplace, these bad actors are able to rip off consumers and often, evade law enforcement.

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More:DEA: Surge of counterfeit pills flooding the internet, claiming lives

To stop these criminals and protect consumers, lawmakers must pass the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers (INFORM Consumers) Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that would protect those right here in Ohio. 

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Online marketplaces are riddled with counterfeits — fake products that are unsafe, harmful and disregard the robust safety standards Americans expect from any trusted retailer or manufacturer. These fraudulent sellers are hawking everything from fake automobile parts to counterfeit car seats to toys.

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These criminals have stooped even lower by selling knockoff N95 masks during the pandemic.  

The counterfeit industry not only puts families at risk, it threatens American economic competitiveness.

Ninety percent of all counterfeit goods come from China. These illegitimate sales have cost American retailers nearly $54.1 billion in sales.

Michael Hanson is the spokesperson for Buy Safe America Coalition, which represents retailers, consumer groups, manufacturers, intellectual property advocates and law enforcement officials who support efforts to protect consumers and communities from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods.

Unfortunately, e-commerce platforms have gone above and beyond to recruit China-based sellers for their marketplaces, despite their lack of concern for the health and well-being of Ohio consumers.  

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However, counterfeits are just half the problem.

Organized retail crime rings —professional criminals who rip products off store shelves for a living — are now selling their stolen goods on online marketplaces. Across the nation, these criminal syndicates have been able to make off with over $68 billion in stolen goods.

In Ohio, retailers have faced over $2 billion in stolen goods.

Criminals are taking advantage of the pandemic's increase in online shopping by selling counterfeit and stolen goods like these faux Coach wallets and handbags.

This criminal activity has cost over 21,000 jobs and over $1 billion in wages. From Perrysburg to Grove City, these brazen criminals are putting Ohio retailers and consumers at considerable financial and physical risk.  

More:Fake N95 and KN95 masks are everywhere—here’s how to spot them and where to buy real ones

These criminals are often violent, causing hard-working retail employees in Ohio to confront dangerous criminals. At the end of the day, professional theft rings will do whatever it takes to make a profit, even if that means assaulting innocent workers and unheeding customers in the process.  



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