Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and District Attorney Jackie Lacey warned people Tuesday to be alert for counterfeit and recalled products when shopping for the holidays.
"Holiday shoppers need to be vigilant,'' Feuer said. "It's all too easy to buy counterfeit or recalled items online that rip you off financially and pose a threat to the safety of you and your family.''
The city and county's top prosecutors said people need to be extra vigilant when looking to purchase such items as phone chargers, helmets, toys and car seats.
"The sale of counterfeit goods not only undermines our economy but also may place hazardous items in the hands of our children,'' Lacey said.
"Counterfeit toys, car seats and mobile phone chargers may sound harmless, but they do not go through the same vigorous safety checks as legitimate items. As a result, they may endanger the health and safety of our loved ones.''
Feuer and Lacey warned that counterfeit items, like fake phone chargers, rarely meet industry safety standards necessary to protect users.
Discounted prices are a sign that the products are likely counterfeit, Feuer said. He offered the following tips for holiday shoppers to avoid purchase perils:
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-- Consider buying from a brick-and-mortar store or online directly from a manufacturer.
-- Check labels. Legitimate items have safety and other labels attached to indicate they have passed testing requirements and are in compliance with applicable industry standards;
-- If the price of an item seems too good to be true, it may be. Check competitor prices and be wary that products with below-market prices may be counterfeit or recalled.
-- Be careful to examine the quality of a product. Flimsy or poorly printed packaging, missing stickers or trademarks, misspelled or abnormally large logos, and component parts that appear cheap or broken can all signal an item is counterfeit.
-- Verify that products haven't been recalled, and check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers Customers can report suspected safety issues and concerns about car seats or other child restraints by calling a hotline operated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 or by filing a non-vehicle complaint.
Residents with information regarding the sale of counterfeit or recalled phone chargers, bicycle helmets or car seats can contact the City Attorney's Office at 213-978-8070 or at www.lacityattorney.org.