Find some expensive perfume or other cosmetics at an unbelievably low price? The deal might turn out to be too good to be true. The products might also be harmful according to the FBI, which recently issued a warning that counterfeit cosmetics can contain hazardous chemicals.
According to the FBI:
- Phony cosmetics often contain things such as arsenic, beryllium, and cadmium which are known carcinogens (cancer-causing agent), as well as high levels of aluminum and dangerous levels of bacteria. Some products have caused conditions like acne, psoriasis, rashes, and eye infections.
- Counterfeit fragrances have been found to contain a chemical called DEHP, classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a probable human carcinogen.
- Phony perfumes and colognes, which sometimes contain urine as well, have been known to cause serious skin rashes.
Signs that cosmetics might not be the real deal:
- The packaging differs slightly from the authentic brand in details such as coloring or lettering, and/or the product’s wrapping appears haphazard.
- The product is being advertised as a “limited edition” even though the authentic manufacturer doesn’t offer it as a limited edition.
- The price is either slightly or drastically lower.
- For cosmetics, the product’s consistency or texture just doesn’t feel or look like the authentic brand.
- For fragrances, there’s something a little off about the scent, and the color of the fluid in the bottle might be different than the original.
- For both products, they’re being sold at non-authorized retailers, including flea markets, mall kiosks, and over the Internet.
The FBI recommends contacting the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) if you think you know someone who has purchased or may be selling counterfeit fragrances and cosmetics.