Consumer alert: watch out for counterfeit toys and electronics - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Consumer alert: watch out for counterfeit toys and electronics

NEW ORLEANS - The Better Business Bureau says mothers and fathers should be very careful this holiday season.

"There are counterfeit toys just like there's counterfeit everything else these days," said Cynthia Albert, director of operations for the Southeast Louisiana BBB. "We've heard of, actually, toxic toys, and that's something that is unbelievable but it does happen."

They're toys that look and sound like the real deal, but may be made with dangerous products.

"The lead is the biggest thing we hear of because it's not noticeable until the child gets sick," said Albert.

Jason Drangel is an intellectual property attorney and creator of uFaker, an app and website where you can report counterfeit products.

"These are products that are being developed in unsanitary conditions for the most part," said Drangel.

The information will be sent to the brand owner so that company can use its legal power to shut down bad businesses.

"Be careful, do you your due diligence. If the price looks to good to be true, it probably is. Only purchase from authorized websites. Go straight to the proper domain name. If it looks funny it probably is," Drangel advised.

Drangel said this year the most popular knock offs include Speck/Mophie cases for smart phones, Ugg boots, and Angry Bird toys.

Along with lead poisoning, he says counterfeit electronics can pose some of the biggest threats.

"You are putting headphones on your head that could electrocute you. Same thing if you plug something into the wall you could get electrocuted, it could start house fires," said Drangel.

Better Business Bureau's Cynthia Albert says even on websites, look for addresses of the manufacturer and check their ratings at BBB.org.

Also, you can look up the safety of certain products on the Consumer Products Safety Commission's website.

"Best thing to do is don't do business with somebody you don't know," said Albert.

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