Counterfeit products are flooding the internet for the holidays

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed even more consumers to shop online, especially around the holiday season, to avoid in-store contact. But making purchases over the internet can also be risky.

Take Aaron Muderick, founder of Crazy Aarons Magnetic Putty, who told a Senate committee on Tuesday that offers to imitate products made by foreign manufacturers have surfaced online. He testified that hundreds of third-party sellers are selling fake — and unsafe — versions of his putty.

“These bad actors often sell unsafe goods that don’t meet the strict federal safety standards required of legitimate producers,” Muderick said.

For example, a magnet used in Crazy Aarons product is large enough not to be a choking hazard. But magnets used in other online products can easily fit into a tube used to measure unsafe product components, CBS News correspondent Elise Preston reported.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s latest report on counterfeit and pirated goods shows that such products have increased with the rise of e-commerce and now account for more than 3% of all world trade. The sale of these counterfeit goods can hurt the sales of legitimate businesses as well as consumers.

As a result, Congress is considering legislation called the Inform Act designed to restrict the sale of counterfeit goods online and requiring marketplaces to verify the identities of sellers

Amazon, Etsy and Ebay, all members of the Internet Association, a lobbying group, each endorse the House version of the bill.

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