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How buying counterfeit goods could be funding terrorism, putting you in danger

That inexpensive designer purse or that half-price football jersey may be a good deal, but does buying it put the country at risk?

WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko explains the dangers of counterfeit goods.

In the FBI, Kolko says he got to work at a couple of Super Bowls and supported Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when they seized counterfeit items during game week, and there is a risk.

It all falls under IPR—Intellectual Property Rights. Officials estimate that up to 10% of all goods sold in the U.S. may be counterfeit.

The annual loss is estimated to be about $1.4 billion.

Most fake goods are items like clothes, shoes, jewelry, electronics and media; even Super Bowl rings.

We sat down with OPSEC Vice President of Corporate Marketing Bill Patterson, hired to patrol the big game over in Miami looking for counterfeits.

He says, when you buy counterfeit, you’re funding crooks.

“We know that counterfeit merchandise could potentially be supporting terrorism, money-laundering, human trafficking or even drug trafficking,” Patterson said.

RECOMMENDED: FBI | WHAT WE INVESTIGATE: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THEFT/PIRACY

Not only that, but you could be putting your life in jeopardy. A video from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows counterfeit airbags, where the bag only comes out half-way or just separates.

You can even run into counterfeit medicine.

But there are ways to protect yourself. One major tip—buying something off the street or from somewhere that’s not licensed to sell the items, that’s a big red flag.

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Briana Harvath
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