Buying fake luxury handbags isn't as innocent as you think: 5 hidden dangers behind the illegal trade

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America's Most Counterfeited Products
The holidays are right around the corner, meaning gift buying is about to become a real priority. The thing is, as much as we'd enjoy buying our loved ones something luxurious and expensive, money can (and usually does) play a factor. So, when that gorgeous over-priced Chanel bag you're dying to buy your mom proves to be too much for your bank account at the moment, where do you turn? The truth is, while it's usually frowned upon, many of us often lean towards the illegal market that is counterfeit bags.

From thousand dollar Celine handbags, to million dollar Hermes totes -- counterfeiters are able to somehow knock-off the look of these gorgeous brands and create products that aren't anywhere near their quality, but a whole lot less in price. You might recognize these people peddling handbags and jewelry on the streets, or even in select stores, making these fakes unrecognizable to the untrained eye.

Photo: Getty

Back in 2013, private investigator Bill Ryan, went undercover in New York City's Chinatown district with CNBC to uncover the truth behind this global fake merchandise market. As you've probably gathered, the results were less than positive. Producers at CNBC said the vendors hustled customers on the street, "ushering tourists into hidden showrooms and apartments to spend $100 for a fake bag rather than $1500 for the real thing."

SEE MORE: Amazon sues over 1,000 freelancers for writing fake reviews

But if you think this is scary, according to the Department of Homeland Security, 500 million fake handbags, belts and wallets worth $1 billion on the street were confiscated in 2012 and $1.2 billion were seized in 2014! That's a terrifying number considering how many people around the world (tourists and locals) purchase these counterfeit products on a daily basis.



But the things is, buying fake luxury handbags isn't necessarily as innocent as you think. To shed some light on this serious issue, we're laying out five hidden dangers behind this illegal trade that you, and all consumers everywhere, should be aware of thanks to share.America.gov:

1. According to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC), counterfeiters do not pay taxes, meaning "less money for your city's schools, hospitals, parks and other social programs."

2. Most counterfeit goods are produced in sweatshops run by organized crime. In other words, profits often support terrorist groups, drug smugglers and sex traffickers.

3. Unlike legitimate products, counterfeits aren't inspected or regulated by government agencies. Because of this there are no guarantee of safety or productiveness.

4. The buyer deprives designers of the fruits of their labor, transferring those profits to counterfeit producers.

5. Fake goods hurt consumers and businesses alike in virtually all aspects of creativity and innovation.

Click through below for legitimate, must-have handbags this season:
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Buying fake luxury handbags isn't as innocent as you think: 5 hidden dangers behind the illegal trade

Tory Burch $535

Photo Credit: Sensible Stylista 

Tory Burch $525

Photo Credit: Sensible Stylista 

Neiman Marcus $465

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Neiman Marcus $1,250

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Neiman Marcus $268

Photo Credit: Sensible Stylista 

Nordstrom $895

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Nordstrom $45

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Saks Off 5th $50

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Rent the Runway $45

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