PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Monday is National Back to School Prep Day and as parents and students head to the store or online to shop for supplies, officials are warning them to avoid scams and fake goods.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce published an article in July reminding families that while they hunt for affordable items, counterfeit goods manufacturers are hunting for their next victims.
They might be selling headphones that fall apart or expose children to toxic chemicals, toys that hide undisclosed choking hazards, or fake clothes that only last one wash before they’re unwearable. While buying fake goods might save people money in the short term, they could end up paying twice as much when the items break and need to be replaced.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has several pieces of advice to help people avoid purchasing counterfeit goods. First, they recommend people trust their instincts and remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
They also say people should always make sure they’re making secure transactions and should watch for missing charges.
With any item, they say to scrutinize labels, packaging and contents and look for broken or non-existent safety seals, false warranty information or otherwise unusual packaging.
The full list of U.S. Chamber of Commerce tips is available online.
The Better Business Bureau also has tips for back-to-school shopping. They say to research big ticket items before buying them, check for warranties and look at customer reviews. The BBB also monitors retailers’ reputations on its website. .
The BBB also encourages families to ask stores and software companies about the discounts they offer. Some are available to students with either a “.edu” email address or a student ID.
While shopping online, parents and students should be wary of “clickbait” ads that feature items they may want, but could take shoppers to a different scam website in an attempt to steal personal information. Instead, the BBB recommends making note of the product and then going to the store’s website by searching the product directly.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods amounted to as much as $509 billion in 2016. Officials say there is evidence tying the counterfeit trade to domestic and international terrorism, child labor, drug and weapons trading, and other criminal activity.