5 Commonly Counterfeited Items To Avoid Buying

It’s one thing to purchase a generic or store-brand product that has the same ingredients or components but at a lower price; and a completely different thing to buy a truly counterfeit product that might save you cash but could end up doing damage to your body.

SmartMoney put together a round-up of products that counterfeiters love to fake and which you should avoid buying at all costs. Here are some of items of interest:

1. Shampoo
Even low-price mass-production shampoos are being counterfeited by shady folks out to make a buck at your expense. “Some are little more than water, fragrance, and a thickening agent,” writes SmartMoney, pointing out that any number of things can be used to create suds. “Beijing police seized more than 2,000 boxes of faux shampoo bottles earlier this month contaminated with mercury, sulfur and other heavy metals.”

2. Batteries
Anyone who has rode the L train in NYC is familiar with the refrain of “battery battery battery one dollar batter battery battery” coming from vendors walking up and down the aisle selling what are ostensibly name brand batteries. But if you’ve ever bought and used these batteries, at the very least you probably didn’t get much juice out of them. Or worse, they may have leaked or exploded all over your Walkman.

3. Toothpaste
Counterfeit toothpaste that’s been mixed with antifreeze (to keep your gums from icing up?) has become such a known issue that even the makers of one of the Law & Orders (I think it was the one with that odd guy from Full Metal Jacket) even dedicated an episode to it. SmartMoney says that in addition to antifreeze or other chemical fun stuff, that tube of faux toothpaste may also contain some nice bacteria.

4. Extension cords
It’s got to be pretty tempting to buy that discount counterfeit extension cord with the tag from “Underwater’s Labradory.” After all, what could be the problem? Well, reports SmartMoney, it might not be sealed properly — zzzaaPPPP! — or that crappy low-grade wire inside can overheat and wreak havoc. The same would go for phony Christmas lights.

5. Sunscreen
That bottle of “Koppertoon” sunscreen may contain dangerous filler chemicals or it may just be generic skin lotion, which won’t do you any good while you’re trekking through the Tocantins… or tailgating outside a Bengals game. Either way, you’re just asking to be burned if you buy this crud.

Cheap Fakes: 10 Ordinary Items Now Counterfeited [SmartMoney.com]