Shoppers warned to be cautious about counterfeit goods during holidays

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Homeland Security agents warn shoppers to pay close attention to the gifts they're buying this holiday season.

Criminals know what's hot and they're making their own versions of the trendy items.

"Auto parts and cosmetics seem to be the two things we're seeing a little bit more of lately," Homeland Security Special Agent Richard Halverson said. "We've always traditionally seen your purses, your handbags, your watches, but as the counterfeiters are getting more sophisticated, they're trying to counterfeit more and more items every year."

The worst part is what is actually inside the counterfeit make-up.

"We have seen things such as feces, other types of contaminants, road paints, sawdust," Halverson said. "Things that we've also seen in counterfeit pharmaceuticals."

Agents in Houston also confiscated fake flea medication for dogs.

Leslie Luczkowski works with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. She demonstrated how counterfeiters packaged fake Samsung batteries.

The batteries are supposed to power a hoverboard toy and have been known to explode. Luczkowski urges shoppers to take a breather in the midst of the holiday shopping and pay attention to what they are buying.

"Generally, if it's too good to be true, it's probably counterfeit," Luczkowski said.
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