Federal officials seized almost $350,000 worth of counterfeit sports merchandise set to be sold during the NHL Winter Classic Monday, authorities say.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation announced the seizure of 1,649 fake items being sold for the same price at which the genuine merchandise is sold, officials say.
Working with the Philadelphia Police and the National Hockey League, federal authorities seized about 150 international mail parcels, investigated nine street vendors and took counterfeit gear with trademarks of MLB, NFL, NBA and NCAA.
"Vendors who sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting sports fans will be held accountable," John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Philadelphia, said in a statement. "These vendors sell inferior items, and tarnishing the reputation of trademark holders like the NHL. Counterfeit goods also cost U.S. industries billions of dollars in losses each year."
Officials gave these tips to consumers who plan to buy NHL goods:
- Look for the hologram sticker or holographic hangtag and a sewn-in or screen printed neck label identifying a licensee that has been authorized by the NHL to produce "genuine" or "official" merchandise.
- Shop at legitimate retailers, such as the official Philadelphia Flyers team store and website rather than buy items from street vendors, flea markets, overseas websites or other questionable sources.
- Beware of ripped tags or irregular markings on apparel.