As the 12th Man prepares for the Seattle Seahawks’ NFC championship playoff game, cons are preparing to line their pockets with the sales of knockoff NFL memorabilia as well. Better Business Bureau reminds fans that counterfeit gear may be inexpensive, but the value and quality is often poor and purchases divert funds away from legitimate organizations.
“This is going to be one of the most highly-anticipated games in Seattle this year,” says Tyler Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “But with every major sporting event there’s going to be scammers ready to capitalize on fans’ desires to snap up team jerseys and souvenirs.”
According to the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau, counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes and accounts for nearly six percent of global trade, worth an estimated $600 billion a year. With large fan bases and recognizable logos, American football franchises are prime targets; in fact, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Operation Red Zone seized $17.3 million in fake NFL merchandise in the months leading up to the Super Bowl in 2013.
Before kickoff, BBB encourages fans to stay on the defense:
- Look for ripped tags or irregular markings on apparel.
- Beware of large price discrepancies; if prices seem too good to be true, products are most likely fake. However, understand that many unscrupulous sellers will try to legitimize their merchandise with higher price points.
- Avoid pop-up street vendors, flea markets, online auctions and other questionable sources.
- Exercise caution when shopping online.
- Buy merchandise from official team stores and authorized retailers when possible.
Keep in mind, team names and logos are copyrights of the National Football League. NFL Properties LLC issues merchandise licenses to persons or businesses wishing to make and sell products with NFL copyrights. To find out more, call the NFL Licensing Hotline at 212-450-2780 and always check out businesses at bbb.org.