FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — Homeland Security Investigations officials are cracking down on counterfeit products that could make you sick this Halloween.
Agents are putting a special focus on items like makeup and contact lenses.
“Our message to the community is simple. One always buys from a reputable dealer if you're going to be buying these types of items. Larger brand stores usually have protocols in place that will prevent any type of counterfeit merchandise from ever reaching their shelves," Nick Nelson, Assistant Special Agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, said.
Businesses like the Party Place in Rogers.
Halloween makeup and contact lenses are popular items for people hoping to enhance their costumes.
“I would recommend looking at your packaging. Make sure it is a well-known brand. We sell such items as trick or treat brand costumes. Those are well known. Make sure it does have the little seal on it to make sure you’re getting the real thing and not an imposter item," Lori Richardson, a seasonal worker Party Place said.
Federal agents say counterfeits could contain bacteria, lead, and other toxins.
The FDA regulates contacts, and it’s illegal to get them from anyone other than a licensed eye doctor.
“Our advice is to use common sense to most consumers. If it seems odd or seems off, then it’s probably something wrong. It’s a big concern for us because it can be confusing for a lot of consumers if it seems like the deal seems too good to be true. It probably is too good to be true," Eric Cardiel, Supervisory Special Agent said.
Investigators say many of these products come from places like China.
Evidence found will be presented to the U.S. Attorneys office for prosecution.
“We have a list of different locations that we’re going to be checking just for compliance and also awareness not only to the store owners but consumers," Cardiel said.
Fines and jail time for intellectual property right violations can vary.
Agents also warn people to be careful while purchasing these items online.
Look for a legitimate website before buying.
The investigation will also be searching for other counterfeit merchandise such as fake sports jerseys, clothing, accessories, and more.