FBI Urges Consumers to be Wary of Counterfeit Cosmetics - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

FBI Urges Consumers to be Wary of Counterfeit Cosmetics

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© Photo courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. © Photo courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released a recent report urging consumers to take caution and when purchasing cosmetics.  A number of counterfeit cosmetics are being sold everyday and the number of products is only increasing with Internet sales.

The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center is a partner of the FBI and they want you to know that a variety of counterfeit cosmetics and fragrances in the U.S. is on the rise, according to law enforcement. The Internet has increased access for these phony products and they may be more common than you think.

Some of these phony cosmetics can often contain ingredients like, arsenic, beryllium, and cadmium along, and high levels of aluminum and bacteria.  Counterfeit fragrances have been found to contain DEHP, classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a probable human carcinogen.  Sometimes these phony perfumes can contain human urine. 

All of these ingredients have been known to cause many types of skin irritation and conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and rashes.  They also can cause eye infections.

There's not a typical profile of group or individuals selling these products.  Some sellers on online auction sites and other web sites might not even know that their products are counterfeit.

Some indicators of counterfeit products consumers should keep an eye out for:

  • Packaging is slightly different from the authentic brand.
  • Wrapping appears haphazard.
  • Product is offered as "limited edition" even though the authentic brand never offers limited edition products.
  • The price is either slightly or drastically lower.
  • The product's consistency or texture does not feel or look like the authentic brand.
  • For fragrances, the scent is a little different or the fluid might be a different color than the original.
  • The products are being sold by a non-authorized retailer at flea markets, mall kiosks, and over the Internet.

The FBI wants the public to help them track down these phony products and the people that sell them illegally.  If you believe that you have purchased a counterfeit cosmetic or fragrance, or if you suspect someone of selling counterfeit items, you can submit a tip to the National IPR Center.