The more mainstream things are stuff we don't even think about - toothpaste, baby formula, perfume, shampoo, sunscreen, cosmetics, maple syrup and even honey!
These mainstream items are being counterfeited and at the price of our health - and the health of our children!
Despite government efforts, experts say the onus is still largely on shoppers to recognize and avoid the fakes. Aside from the red flag of a deep discount, be cautious about product labeling or packages that seem different from the usual, such as a misplaced bar code, peeling label or gluey residue, says Joseph LaRocca, the vice president of loss prevention for the National Retail Federation. If a product's taste, smell or texture seems off -- or online buyers have noted that in reviews -- that's another warning sign, he says.
The price of being an unwitting buyer can be high, and not just in money wasted. "Criminals are looking to make money, so their focus is on making the product look as much like the real product as possible," Halvorson says. "They'll spend more money on the packaging than the good itself." As a result, many of the basic fakes can carry serious health and safety risks.
Following are seven household items that government and industry groups say shoppers may unwittingly buy in fake versions.