|Picture this: You want a new designer handbag or a nice pair of sneakers but don’t want to pay full price.
So, instead of visiting the company’s website, you head to one of the many e-commerce sites offering knockoffs. After all, it looks nearly identical and is a fraction of the price! How could you not?
Congratulations, you just helped fuel an epidemic costing businesses $200 billion annually and contributing to 750,000 jobs lost.
Insider’s Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins has a fascinating look inside America’s booming counterfeit market and the industry’s financial and societal impacts.
The knockoff market has exploded in recent years thanks to e-commerce, expanding beyond traditional hotspots like New York City’s Canal Street.
Sellers can quickly spin up a store on one of the many e-commerce sites that exploded during the pandemic. Multiple marketplaces also mean plenty of options if a website bans them.
Counterfeits come with severe consequences beyond simply cutting into corporations’ bottom lines.
The production and distribution of knockoffs has been linked to organized-crime rings that deal in drugs and human trafficking.
Counterfeits also pose a personal risk. Fake Jordans may not lead to physical harm, but knockoff electrics can start fires (or zap your phone), and counterfeit cosmetics have previously been found to have contained cyanide and rat droppings.
Of course, sometimes the worst thing about a counterfeit is getting caught with one.
Just ask the rich New Yorkers who got conned by the Birkin bandit.