Make sure the NBA merchandise you're buying is legitPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- Get ready for a flood of fans as celebrities and professional athletes roll into town for the All-Star Game.
But con men are also looking to score big with ticket scams!
This always happens when you have a huge sporting event like the All-Star Game.
I'm talking about counterfeit merchandise.
Sometimes consumers know the stuff they're buying is fake, but they turn a blind eye because it's such a good bargain.
But many times consumers have no idea that the merchandise they're buying is not the real deal at all.
"You know, the counterfeiters out there are very, very good at what they do," said Vinnie Picard with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE seized some fake NFL merchandise last year when the Super Bowl was in town. Picard admits many of the jerseys look authentic.
"They'll do a good job on the outside, but the fake ones, they are cutting corners on the inside," Picard said.
He's right. In fact, on the inside of these fake NFL jerseys, the threading was coming apart and that's the reason the NBA is cracking down this week on things like basketball jerseys.
"Counterfeit merchandise takes away business from legitimate retailers," said Brian Keegan with the NBA.
Keegan is in charge of the league's merchandise. He knows that with the All-Star basketball event rolling into town, consumers have to be careful they're buying the real deal.
So how are you supposed to know?
"First and foremost, all NBA-licensed products have a hang tag on them or a hologram indicating that it was made by one of our licensees," Keegan said.
Also, look for a tag that has a long number on it. That helps guarantee it's legit, too. You should inspect the tag in the neckline as well.
"You'll see a lot of times it will be cut in half so just be on the look out for that," Keegan said.
Finally, inspect the color of the merchandise. Sometimes fakes are a little off on the coloring.
Just paying attention to detail is important because the last thing you want is winding up with a fake.
"The downside for the customer is that they are getting an inferior product," Keegan said.
Here's a pretty good rule of thumb. If you're buying NBA gear at a department store like J.C. Penney or you're buying it from the Suns Team Shop, you're fine. It's the guy on the street corner you have to be cautious about.