As the Carolina Hurricanes prepare for Game 4 against the Boston Bruins, lots of people want to grab ‘Canes merchandise, but scam artists are hoping fans will buy their cheaply made fakes.
But, experts say buying fakes could end up more than some may think. The officials say a lot of the money spent on counterfeits goes to fund organized and other crime.
The Eye — Carolina’s team store at PNC Arena — is fully stocked with all kinds of ‘Canes merchandise, all of tagged and official.
“My daughter is getting a jersey,” said customer Eddie West. “We are season ticket holders and love coming out to the games.”
When the playoffs come, the NHL says sales of merchandise obviously spike, but so do sales of counterfeit goods.
The league said it’s taken millions of dollars worth of fake merchandise out of circulation.
During the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, the NHL said it was involved in the seizure or voluntary surrender of more than 5,400 pieces of unauthorized merchandise with an estimated retail value of approximately $137,000.
In addition, over 2,900 listings for counterfeit NHL products were removed from online marketplaces during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoff season, which, conservatively estimated, represents approximately $385,000 in products.
Anyone buying goods from a place other than The Eye can avoid fakes by:
- Looking for an NHL hologram sticker or hangtag
- Finding the sewn-in tag or screen-printed label saying it’s officially authorized NHL merchandise.
- Checking the overall quality of the product, including correct spelling player and team names.
- Examining the item assessing the quality of the embroidery or screen printing.
- Buying from established retailers such as NHLShop.com or The Eye retail store.
Consumers aren’t the only victims when it comes to counterfeit merchandise. A new study by the brand protection company MarkMonitor found that sales from counterfeit goods can drive illegal activities.
MarkMonitor partnered with Michigan State to study into the overlap of counterfeiting with other, more serious crimes.
In part, the study found “the proceeds from the sale of counterfeit goods is the financial backbone which is used to fund terrorism, human trafficking, organized crime, transportation of illegal weapons, health care fraud, drug offenses, sex-related crimes, and money laundering enterprises.”
And the amount of money funneled into those criminal activities involves billions.
According to a recent study by The International Trademark Association and the International Chamber of Commerce Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracyconducted by Frontier Economics, the estimated value of trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is between $710 billion and $917 billion globally per year. It is directly responsible for the loss of more than 2 million jobs annually.