Don’t let scammers ruin the Avs’ big win! How to avoid counterfeit merchandise

Make sure your championship gear is legit!
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:55 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - If you’re still on a high from last week’s Stanley Cup win, you’re not alone! Avs merchandise continues to get snatched up across the state as Coloradans celebrate the team’s third championship!

The only downside -- lots of scammers are cashing on the big win, too.

To help prevent bad guys from ruining this exciting time, 11 News Call For Action investigator Katie Pelton and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser have some tips for how you can avoid counterfeit merchandise.

PELTON: WE KNOW FANS ARE RACING TO GET STANLEY CUP GEAR AFTER THE AVS BIG WIN. HOW CAN WE AVOID THE SCAMMERS?

Weiser: “Scammers are going to come after you in ways when you’re not expecting it. You’ll get an email, you’ll get a text, you’ll see a social media post and it will be ‘Get Avs gear cheap, buy now,’ and unfortunately, counterfeit merchandise and scams are rampant. So if you go through these unofficial channels maybe thinking you’re getting a deal, chances are you’re getting scammed.”

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SAYS LAST YEAR, DETECTIVES SEIZED MORE THAN 267,000 COUNTERFEIT SPORTS RELATED ITEMS -- WORTH ABOUT $97.8 MILLION. IT WAS PART OF AN OPERATION PUT ON BY THE NATIONAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS COORDINATION CENTER TO CRACKDOWN ON ILLEGAL IMPORTS OF COUNTERFEIT APPAREL AND MERCHANDISE. WE KNOW THIS IS HAPPENING AT A LARGE LEVEL. IT’S UP TO US AS CONSUMERS TO WATCH FOR RED FLAGS.

“One big one is pressure tactics. If someone tries to pressure you and say they call you up, ‘I can get you a good deal on Avs merchandise, you gotta buy it now, give me your credit card,’ those pressure tactics are a big warning sign. Do not give in. Do your homework. Make sure you know who you’re buying from. A lot of times when someone is operating in a way that looks a little shady, chances are, they’re not legitimate, so be careful, do your homework and only deal with legitimate providers.”

LARGE SPORTING EVENTS, LIKE THE SUPER BOWL OR THE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS, ARE BIG TARGETS FOR CROOKS. HOW CAN YOU AVOID BUYING COUNTERFEIT PRODUCTS?

“A big challenge for all us is sometimes we get our hopes up, we’re impulsive, we want to make an impulsive purchase. Don’t do it. You’re going to see social media posts, you may see emails that come to you and they’re suggesting they can get you something you want quickly and maybe more cheaply than ordinarily you would have to pay. Be nervous. Be vigilant. The way in which they’ll get you is getting you to act quickly and make decisions that maybe you’d make in haste and later regret.”

IS SHOPPING IN PERSON SAFER THAN ONLINE?

“Online commerce is a real hazard because if you go to, for example, Facebook Marketplace or even some Amazon sellers that aren’t necessarily Amazon itself, you might get something that’s not legitimate. It could be stolen merchandise, for example. So be careful online, make sure you know who you’re dealing with. When you shop in person, if you don’t go to legitimate, established stores, you could be in an area where you’re also being taken advantage of not being sold what you think you’re getting. Because if you don’t go to an established vendor, you come back a week later, they’re not there anymore, you’re not going to get satisfaction.

“This is the thing: Scammers are creative and they’re clever. How can they get you to give up your hard-earned money and then leave you without satisfaction, without what you thought you were buying? The problem with scammers is there’s no recourse, it’s hard to find them; if you report them to us at stopfraudcolorado.gov, we’ll do our best, but often they’re literally fly-by-night-operators -- once you’ve given up your money, they’re gone.”

If you believe you or a loved one has fallen victim of a scam, you can report it the Colorado Attorney General’s Office at 800-222-4444.

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