Customs agents warn Super Bowl fans against purchasing fake merchandise
HOBOKEN - Authorities say they will be on the lookout for counterfeit goods being sold around the Super Bowl this weekend.
The NFL Experience has several stores set up in the area to sell official Super Bowl merchandise, including a store on Pier A in Hoboken.
Officials warn that an NFL logo on merchandise doesn't necessarily mean it is legitimate.
Authorities say counterfeit products are being sold online or out in the streets. They warn fans to make sure they are purchasing the real thing.
"Given the history of the Super Bowl, counterfeiting will be on the rise," says Homeland Security Investigator Peter Fox, "whether it's merchandises, or tickets."
"This is a very serious issue," says Fox. "Last year, our seizures landed in the realm of $17 million." Fox says there was much more that got past them. "That equates to tax dollars. That equates to protecting the brand."
Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are in the area this week. "Operation Team Player" has a command center set up in Newark and dozens of agents out in the field cracking down on counterfeiters, who may be setting up shop at Super Bowl venues across New Jersey.
The agents warn that the quality of counterfeit products is less than expected or much cheaper than legitimate items.
Official holograms printed on items should have a unique number, agents say. If all the products have the same digits, they are counterfeit.
ICE says consumers thinking about purchasing a knock-off item should consider that doing so is illegal. They say their purchase takes away jobs, since most of the counterfeit products are shipped in from other countries.