Buyers beware: Experts warn of harmful counterfeit action figures sold on Amazon
You may want to pay extra close attention while holiday shopping this year as a new scam is targeting buyers of Marvel action figures and putting children in danger.
Ads from third-party retailers selling popular action figures can be spotted all over Amazon. However, experts say these toys are fakes, and there's an increasing number of them for sale.
“What we're seeing right now is an influx of counterfeit goods flooding onto marketplaces,” says Michael Hanson, of the Buy Safe America Coalition.
The coalition found in a recent study that U.S. retailers lose about $54 billion dollars in sales each year from counterfeit products.
Since supply chain problems are making some items hard to find, even more Americans could wind up purchasing fakes.
“With the supply chain, that's only going to increase because people are going to be looking for certain goods,” Hanson says. “Criminals are going to know that, they're going to produce these knockoffs, that's going to be really harmful.”
Hanson says these products are harmful because they are poorly made and often have small parts kids could choke on. He says some may even contain lead.
Amazon says it's invested $700 million and hired more than 10,000 people to protect its stores from fraud and abuse.
A spokesperson for Amazon wrote, "This biased study was funded by large brick-and-mortar retailers who compete with online marketplaces and view small businesses who sell products online as a threat. While counterfeiting has always been and remains a problem in the global retail industry, fewer than .01% of products sold on Amazon last year received a counterfeit complaint from a customer."
However, Chuck Bell with Consumer Reports agrees that online counterfeits are on the rise.
He says shoppers should read reviews carefully, research the seller and be wary of rock bottom prices.
“If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Bell says.