Sports fans beware: NHL counterfeit merchandise is on the rise during the 2022 Stanley Cup Final

WASHINGTON — With the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning battling in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) and the National Hockey League (NHL) are reminding sports fans to beware of buying fake sporting-related goods and apparel during the tournament.

Federal authorities from the Center for Intellectual Property Rights, in conjunction with the NHL, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and US Customs and Border Protection collaborate with local law enforcement, as well as other public and private partners, to identify online marketplaces, flea markets and outlets Retail, pop-up stores and street vendors selling counterfeit goods during the Stanley Cup Final.

Big sporting events, such as the Stanley Cup playoff, are prime targets for bad actors who are very smart and often create fake websites or e-commerce marketplaces with the sole intent of deceiving sports fans.

Last year, between February 2021 and 2022, the Center for Intellectual Property Rights seized more than 267,511 counterfeit sports-related items valued at $97.8 million during Operation Team Player, a year-round effort developed by the IPR Center to combat the illegal import of counterfeit sports. Clothing and entertainment items.

said Tom Bruchnow, senior vice president of legal affairs for NHL Enterprises, LP

“Our partnership with the NHL is just one example of our global effort to prevent criminals from making a profit selling counterfeit branded merchandise. Nobody knows their product better than those who make and manufacture it, which is why we rely on Industry expertise to help identify criminals to prevent them from deceiving consumers.”

“For all fans looking to celebrate Team Avs being a part of the playoffs by wearing a T-shirt or purchasing other merchandise, beware of counterfeits,” said Ryan Spradlin, responsible HSI Denver special agent. “HSI and the NHL will work diligently to search for counterfeit merchandise that is being sold to unsuspecting fans in an effort to better protect consumers.”

Here are some tips that sports fans should keep in mind when making purchases to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Shop only at trustworthy retail sites, such as official team stores, rather than buying items from street vendors, flea markets, online auctions, or other questionable sources.
  • When buying items online, be aware that criminals often use legitimate product images on their websites despite selling fraudulent products. We advise consumers not to purchase expensive items from third-party websites.
  • Only buy event tickets and/or collectibles from trustworthy sources.
  • If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. While some counterfeiters may attract fans with a low price tag or a 2-for-1 deal, many try to legitimize their merchandise at a higher price point.
  • Look for tattered tags, poor quality, messy stitching, and irregular markings on clothing.
  • Verification Statements – Keep a record of purchases and copies of confirmation pages for comparison with bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.

The CIP message is simple – buy from reputable merchants, be careful when shopping online, and use common sense. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and it’s likely to be either a theft or even a safety threat. Purchasing authorized merchandise ensures the quality and life of this souvenir, while also providing a reputable source for concerns, returns and exchanges.

About IPR

For more than two decades, the Center for Intellectual Property Rights, in collaboration with its public and private sector partners, has led efforts in the government’s response to combating global intellectual property theft and enforcement of intellectual property rights abuses. The Center was created to combat global intellectual property theft – thus, it plays an important role in monitoring the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods on websites, social media and the dark web.

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