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5 more counterfeit products that are seriously dangerous

Posted by Ryan Williams on Tuesday, Mar 27, 2018

Don't let counterfeit batteries melt your computer down

Counterfeit products are low-quality imitations of original items. Shoes that should last over a year look worn out in months, headphones with awful sound quality. While the quality of counterfeit items can sometimes come close to the authentic products they aim to mimic, the money that customers save on products sometimes comes at a tremendous cost. Here are some products Red Points advises consumers to be extra careful that they’re getting the real deal. You can find the first five products here.

Cosmetics

Perfumes can be expensive, but if you’re excited for a date and want to show off your best self, they can feel like a necessity. So, it comes as no surprise that many people choose to buy counterfeit perfumes, either intentionally, or simply by accident while bargain-hunting. Well, Red Points recommend double-checking the source of your perfumes.

Counterfeit perfumes can contain some unsavoury ingredients

Fake perfumes wearing the labels of Gucci, Lacoste, Chanel containing substances such as antifreeze and urine and more were confiscated by police in New York. Other confiscated perfumes have tested positive for methanol, and other toxic chemicals, while make-up products sold by counterfeiters have been found to contain aluminium, arsenic and mercury and users of these products rush to the hospital, complaining of rashes, allergic reactions and even chemical burns.

We all want to look our best, but counterfeiters aren’t concerned about your health. So be careful where you’re buying your cosmetics from.

Cigarettes

Cigarettes in their authentic form are already a terrible idea if you plan to look after yourself. They have been dubbed ‘cancer sticks’, after all. But, at least cigarettes from reputable sources go through some safety protocols to reduce the harm they cause.

It's hard to believe cigarettes can be more dangerous, but counterfeiters find a way

Counterfeits, on the other hand, are made under no such regulations. Cancer-causing chemicals like arsenic, tar and lead, are massively more common in fakes, by a factor of five at the minimum. Furthermore, legitimate cigarettes are designed to auto-extinguish when left to burn, whereas counterfeits often do not, so the chance of it igniting a fire shoots up significantly. The fakes come as the bane of health organisations looking to reduce smoking worldwide, as they offer a far cheaper deal, they do not carry the health warnings on the packets and, most alarmingly, are far easier to get into the hands of children.


Baby products

Every parent wants to keep their children safe, and falling victim to counterfeiters’ tricks can have heartbreaking repercussions for families. Babies like to explore the world by putting things in their mouth. So, while companies in the West who make baby products are rigorously tested for the chemical makeup and choking potential of their products, counterfeiters aren’t held to such standards. Parents must be careful with what they’re letting their children play with, because if it’s a counterfeit, it’s anyone’s guess of how safe it is.

Parents give everything to keep their children safe, but counterfeit products can betray them

It’s even a problem when the parents are presently with the baby. Counterfeit baby carriers, car seats and prams are widespread, and they do not have the same structural integrity of authentic products. Parents trust legitimate brands to make products that won’t collapse or break while their child is inside, so we advise them to take a careful look at what they’re buying online. Mistaking a counterfeit as authentic could become a terrible error.


Sex Toys

This booming industry suffers greatly from social taboo. This puts them at a massive risk because consumers are often too embarrassed to have an open discussion about the topic, and can make people too nervous to seek medical help when things go wrong.

Counterfeit sex toys are not trustworthy, unlike authentic products like those from Lelo

So, let’s be serious here. Counterfeited sex toys can be dangerous enough to kill users. They are often made of toxic materials, such as phthalates, or porous materials which harbour dangerous, infectious bacteria. Toys with an electrical component can suffer from shoddy design and production which, if they malfunction during use, can be extremely dangerous.

Using products of low quality can be dangerous in regular settings, but when they’re being used in sexual situations, it’s doubly important that none of these items malfunction or cause harm to our most sensitive areas. Trust the authentic brands and you can avoid a painful, and embarrassing, rush to the emergency room.


Electronics

Electronic devices prove a massive risk to users if not carefully produced. A Tennessee family had their house burned down by a knock-off counterfeit hoverboard. Their children narrowly escaped with their lives by breaking an upstairs window and leaping to safety and three family members ended up with injuries. The aftermath of the incident is in the image below.

This is the result of counterfeit electronics malfunctioning in a Tennessee household

Examples of knock-off electronics causing fires or giving users painful electric shocks are far too common. Counterfeit batteries are especially problematic, as one poor-quality battery can cause equipment like a laptop to melt down. A counterfeit lithium battery which malfunctions can cause extreme chemical reactions, heating up to 800°C (1,500°F) in a matter of seconds.

Even the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US department of defense, suffers from counterfeit electronics. Electronics that are destined for missile guidance systems and satellites of the US military can come from illegitimate sources, infecting state-of-the-art technology with shoddily-made parts.


In conclusion, we at Red Points understand people are looking for a bargain when they hit the shops. However, we also know that buying counterfeit products can mean saving a little money now, but paying a much greater price further down the line. So be smart, and don’t trust the counterfeiters.

Red Points ebook on how to report a counterfeit item on Amazon

About the author

Ryan Williams

Post Written by Ryan Williams

Ryan is a content writer and researcher at Red Points, focusing on topics surrounding intellectual property law, global affairs, new technology and cultural developments. He graduated with a B.A., Hons in Criminology and Sociology from The University of York in 2014.