TAMPA BAY, Fla- — Federal Agents from the Department of Homeland Security want to make sure whatever you buy for the big game isn't just a cheap knockoff.
If you take time to inspect the quality of the product you want to buy, you will see flaws and tell tales signs made on the cheap.
"You are going to come across these fakes in any number of places, and there are ways you can protect yourself by taking a look at the fine details," Special Agent Brian Weinhaus said. Weinhaus works at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, overseen by the Department of Homeland Security.
"If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is," Weinhaus said.
Profits from counterfeit sales usually make their way to criminal organizations overseas.
Intellectual property crimes are not victimless crimes. There are people that suffer the consequences when people purchase or sell counterfeit products," Weinhaus said. "There's the loss of revenue; there's the loss of jobs, the loss of wages, the loss of taxes that affect your own community, think about those things on the whole and in general we want to keep our businesses safe and secure we want to keep our people safe and secure."
Lousy quality in the material, poor stitching, and overall quality in your hand are tell-tale signs. The NFL hologram also comes with a serial number and should change colors when you move it.
Most counterfeits won't have a hologram, or it is just a shiny sticker that doesn't change color when you move it.
"Intellectual property crimes are not victimless crimes; there are people that suffer the consequences when people purchase or sell counterfeit products," Weinhaus said.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, last year, collaborative enforcement efforts led by HSI and CBP resulted in a record-breaking seizure of 176,000 counterfeit sports-related items worth an estimated $123 million.