Cosmetics brand MAC has recently been a particular target for these counterfeiting attempts, with raids by the Department of Homeland Security uncovering large numbers of cosmetics from this line whilst raiding gangs of criminals in the San Francisco Bay area.
With inferior products which resemble those of expensive cosmetics brands being retailed for as little as a fifth of the cost, the image and sales of companies such as Estee Lauder are on the line, particularly since illegitimate copies are often contaminated by potentially toxic substances such as heavy metals and bacteria.
MAC’s policy on counterfeiting advises consumers that they do not “sell products at wholesale over the internet,” and that they aggressively pursue civil actions and take down websites and online auctions involved in selling counterfeit products.
James Yiu from the M·A·C global communications department commented to CosmeticsDesign.com: “We take consumer safety very seriously. Counterfeit products claiming to be M·A·C cosmetics can be harmful to our consumers.”
“We work closely with dedicated and diligent law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, around the globe and participate in numerous counterfeiting enforcement efforts to help put a stop to counterfeit M·A·C products.”
Homeland security raids
The Department of Homeland Security has recently been pursuing rings of MAC cosmetics counterfeiters in the Bay area, and in raids launched last year recovered fake versions of the beauty products as part of a $1m dollar haul of counterfeit goods in Newport Beach.
Deputy Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden told ABC Action News Homeland Security agents were currently targeting large scale counterfeiting rings for cosmetics products.
Folden commented that that advances in technology had now made fakes more difficult to detect, making them even more of a threat to brands than previously.
Many of the illegally counterfeit products are believed to originate from China, which supplies around 80% of all ‘fake’ cosmetics according to a report by Australian news program Today Tonight.
The report also showcases the dangers of these products since most counterfeits do not go through the rigorous testing of mainstream brands and can therefore cause damage to the body.
Fake cosmetics are often contaminated by heavy metals, bacteria and other dangerous substances and which can potentially cause problems such as skin irritation and scarring.