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$21.6M Worth Of Fake Super Bowl Merchandise Confiscated

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

NEW YORK (CBS4) – The big game is a big draw, and that means a lot of people want a memento to remember Super Bowl XLVIII. But are they buying the real deal?

Police are cracking down on counterfeit gear sales. On Thursday federal agents announced they seized a record-breaking $21.6 million worth of fake sports merchandise and confirmed some of it was confiscated in the Denver area.

The Super Bowl season is the perfect time for scammers to take advantage of consumers. Over the past eight months law enforcement around the U.S. has confiscated more than 200,000 fake jerseys, clothing, souvenirs, and even Super Bowl tickets.

Authorities say many of the false items are coming from unofficial websites, flee markets, and street vendors. So far officers have made about 50 arrests and have seized over 150 websites.

The NFL says there are warning signs to identify fake gear and fake tickets. They say look out for misspellings on websites and even on the souvenirs, if they are the wrong color, and they say to pay close attention to pricing. If it seems too good to be true, it likely is. The NFL says just make sure to buy from a trusted seller.

Federal officials say that buying from scammers not only puts one’s identity and personal information at risk, they also say it undermines the economy, affecting more than 900,000 jobs in Colorado.

“We have seen narcotics organizations smuggling these, criminal street gangs selling these in the United States. Moreover, the impact really hurts American small business and the American consumer,” said John Sandweg, Acting Director for ICE. “There are legitimate retailers in the United States who employ hard working Americans who are selling officially licensed merchandise who are undercut when someone sells a counterfeit item.”

Federal officials say it may cost a little more but it’s worth it.

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