U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center

As we scramble for gifts ahead of Mother’s Day, our virtual shopping carts are full of options: perfume, jewelry, and makeup. Perhaps, for new and expectant mothers, we’re finding holiday deals on baby formula and teething toys. But buyer beware: just as these are some of the most popular Mother’s Day staples, they’re also some of the most popular items to counterfeit.

Counterfeit goods, especially those targeted at Mother’s Day shoppers, can put mother and child at severe risk.

Counterfeit perfumes can contain harmful chemicals that cause swelling, burns, and other physical reactions. Counterfeit jewelry has been found to include toxic metals that leave wearers with rashes and hives. Enforcement officials have confiscated counterfeit makeup laced with bacteria, arsenic, mercury, and even feces.

Health concerns related to counterfeit goods are compounded for children, one of our most vulnerable populations.

Counterfeit baby formula is not safety-certified by regulators, meaning buyers won’t know if ingredients are safe and healthy. Parents who have been duped into using counterfeit baby formula have reported malnutrition, fever, and rashes in their children. Similarly, counterfeit toys escape flammability tests, lack adequate choking and strangling hazard warnings, and often are made with lead and other dangerous compounds.

It’s safe to say counterfeit goods don’t make a good Mother’s Day gift. But what about the gifter?

At the point of sale, counterfeiters can steal victims’ personal information, including credit card numbers, username and password combinations, home addresses, photos, and even social security numbers. Counterfeiters use this information themselves – often to register counterfeit websites or other criminal enterprises – or sell it to the highest bidder. You don’t want to ask Mom for money on Mother’s Day – especially not as the victim of identity fraud.

This Mother’s Day, wow Mom with a genuine gift and join the movement to fight fakes. And while fake flowers aren’t exactly counterfeit, we’d steer clear of those, too.

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