SAPD: Counterfeit goods big business in San Antonio

Police warn shoppers about buying counterfeit products

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio police warned shoppers Thursday to be on the lookout for counterfeit goods while shopping for holiday gifts.

Several officers with the department's anti-counterfeit unit, who couldn't be identified due to undercover status, said the crime is a big one in San Antonio.

"It's because we're so close to major ports like Laredo and Houston," said one officer. "Most of this stuff is brought in from foreign countries, and we're close to those entry points."

Besides flea markets, the most notorious locations the sale of counterfeit goods, shoppers were warned about their prevalence in online outlets like Craigslist and eBay.

Officers said counterfeit goods even pop up at hallway kiosks in area malls.

The knockoffs are often of high-quality -- crooks look at it as an investment, as there is big money to be made in the illicit business.

Officers estimated the industry is worth billions worldwide, with proceeds often used to fund other criminal activity.

The police department issued the following tips about what to look for when buying:

  • A substantially lower price than the manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP).

  • Misspelled words on the product packaging (counterfeit items are often made in foreign countries where  English is not the common language).

  • The product label is peeling off, is not directly printed on, or etched into the item as seen in reputable retail stores.

  • Substandard material used in luxury items. If it looks like poor quality, it is likely counterfeit.