Holiday Shopping Tips for Consumers

E-newsletter Issue #128 | December 5, 2013

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, a CSG Associate, has issued holiday shopping tips for consumers. Through its Dangerous Fakes campaign, the center is issuing consumer alert tips to empower holiday shoppers to make smart decisions and avoid counterfeits. 
The center suggests these 10 tips to avoid dangerous fakes:

1. Trust your instincts. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

2. Insist on secure transactions. When doing business online, make sure your payments are submitted via websites beginning with https:// (the “s” stands for secure) and look for a lock symbol at the bottom of your browser.

3. Watch for missing sales tax charges. Businesses trading in counterfeit goods often do not report their sales to financial authorities—a difference you may notice in the price you ultimately pay, particularly in states that collect sales taxes.

4. Seek quality assurance in the secondary market. Reputable and reliable resellers have comprehensive inspection and authentication procedures and technicians to inspect the equipment they sell.

5. Be particularly careful purchasing medicine online. Reports suggest that 96 percent of online pharmacies do not meet safety or legal standards.

6. Be vigilant when buying abroad. When shopping on international websites, look for trusted vendors that use identifiable privacy and security safeguards and have legitimate addresses.

7. Avoid the impossible. If a movie is still in theaters, or is not in theaters yet, beware of online streaming or download sites, which often install malware that can steal your credit card and other personal information.

8. Scrutinize labels, packaging and contents. Look for missing or expired “use by” dates, broken or missing safety seals, missing warranty information or otherwise unusual packaging.

9. Report fake products that are faulty or dangerous. Consumers can play an important role in keeping the market free of fakes. Report unsafe products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission at

10. Spread the word about the danger of fake products. Teach your children about counterfeits and warn friends and family of illegitimate product sources.

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