DETROIT (WXYZ) - If you are thinking about buying your loved one a fake designer bag, shoes, or iPhone to save some money this holiday shopping season, you may want to reconsider.
Not only are such items illegal, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations warns they can be dangerous.
Special Agents showed 7 Action News some of the counterfeit items seized recently. They have found people trying to sell everything from counterfeit perfumes, purses, and clothes to bogus male enhancement pills, auto parts, and iPhones.
There have been reports of people developing rashes after wearing counterfeit Ugg boots, having reactions to fake fragrances, and suffering house fires started by phony iPhones or chargers.
"You have to ask, is saving some money worth putting your family's life at risk?" said Special Agent with HSI, Derryk Burgess.
He says shoppers often are the first line of defense against the sale of such items. When you are shopping if the price seems too good to be true for a name brand item, and you are not in a store with a good reputation, be cautious. Don't just look at the brand lable, look closely at the items quality. Watch for misspellings on the item's label. Often counterfeit items are produced overseas, and there are spelling mistakes. Some companies will allow you to call in a serial number to verify an item is legitimate.
If you see something suspicious, you are asked to report it by calling at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by visiting www.ICE.gov/tips .