Warning issued as Christmas scams target online shoppers with fake toys and electronics that can overheat and EXPLODE

AUTHORITIES have issued a warning about Christmas scams targeting online shoppers with fake toys and electronics that can overheat and explode.

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) and the FBI have come together to warn Americans of the danger of buying counterfeit products online.

“For most, the holidays represent a season of goodwill and giving, but for criminals, it’s the season to lure in unsuspecting holiday shoppers,” said IPR Center Director Matt Allen.

According to the agencies, counterfeit electronics can overheat and explode, while bicycle helmets can break upon impact because they are not subject to federal regulations.

“Counterfeit and knockoff toys sold by unreputable sellers are highly unlikely to comply with strict toy safety laws that are designed to protect children at play," said Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association.

"These fake, non-compliant products might have small parts that can break off, may not be age-graded appropriately, or may pose other risks to children," he added.

Additionally, phony cosmetics and health care products can be made with dangerous or unsanitary ingredients that should not be applied to the skin.

As for seasonal items for the home, like holiday lights, they can be poorly wired and ignite fires if they come from unauthorized retailers.

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Aside from the possible danger of buying counterfeit products, the websites that sell them can also put shoppers at risk of having their personal and financial data stolen for other nefarious purposes. 

The IPR Center recommends buying goods only from reputable retailers and not buying expensive items from third party websites.

They also suggest reading product reviews on websites and research companies you aren’t familiar with.

When it comes to privacy and security, it's important to check websites' privacy policies as well as your bank statements.

When shopping online, families need to carefully scrutinize listings, and purchase only from reputable sellers and known brands, whose legitimate toys comply with the more than 100 different safety standards and tests required by law," concluded the Toy Association's Steve Pasierb.

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