ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA)- Mark Hammond, South Carolina Secretary of State, said his team received a complaint that there were counterfeit items being sold at Kirk’s Collectibles at the Anderson Mall.
On Monday, investigators, along with Homeland Security and Anderson County deputies, seized the merchandise. While it is all fake, if it were real, it would have been worth over $15.7 million.
Hammond said on top of it being a devastating financial loss for customers, it’s also dangerous.
“Some of the other materials cause hazards around the home, so it’s very important that we make these cases and get this material off the streets because its part of protecting our citizens here in the state,” said Hammond.
In recent years, South Carolina has seen an increase in counterfeit sales. But customers aren’t the only ones to suffer.
“A lot of times people may hold that against the companies, “ said Hammond. “The companies spend large amounts of money to promote their merchandise, the quality of the merchandise, so when they have this counterfeit merchandise out there for sale, because of that fact it increases the cost of that retail item because they have to fight against this counterfeit merchandise and get it off the streets.”
Hammond said this all hurts the state’s economy, and social media is largely to blame.
“Unfortunately because of social media and easy access, it used to be largely sold at flea markets or some strip malls but because of the internet, now a lot of it is sold in someone’s basement or in their den through the internet.”
Educating means knowing the difference. Customers should look out for too-good-to-be-true prices, differences in packaging, and quality.
The secretary of state’s office said if you think you purchased something that is counterfeit, you should file a confidential complaint through their website and investigators will help.
To submit a report about suspected counterfeit goods, you can fill out this form or email email@example.com.