The lure of a bargain has some shoppers clamoring for designer goods on the internet. The new Facebook Marketplace is a new opportunity for deals... and scams.
Homeland Security officials investigate designer knock-offs because they say some of the online enterprises help to fund to terrorists. The minute they shut one site down, another one pops up.
If your Cyber Monday browsing landed you on the Facebook marketplace, you'll find deals. They include designer bags like Louis Vuitton bags at bargain prices. To the uninitiated they may look like the real thing. To experts, they’re easy to spot with inferior materials or proportions that are just a bit off.
"It's just obvious. It’s just a blatant disaster of the bag." Cassandra Connors owns Bella Bags in Buckhead. She's seen an explosion of fake Louie’s lately.
"If you are seeing the yellow tag, the plastic on the handles, and it’s a very low price, these are three things you can tell very easily in pictures," she said.
She's seen entire sites dedicated to the fakes: "There are Facebook pages there Instagram pages completely dedicated to replicas."
Some sellers freely admit their wares are replicas. They're sometimes priced below $100. But experts say buying one isn’t going to fool those who are in the know, and your money could be going toward more illicit activities than just counterfeit handbags.
Nick Annan is a Special Agent in Charge with Homeland Security. He calls the replicas a "huge problem".
"You need to know you are funding a criminal enterprise," he said. "Those criminal enterprises are involved in human trafficking in drug smuggling and in terroristic activities. So in essence, you’re funding that sort of thing."