Sports fans beware: Counterfeit NHL merchandise is on the rise in the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals

WASHINGTON – As the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning advance to the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) and the National Hockey League (NHL) remind sports fans beware of purchasing counterfeit sports-related merchandise. and apparel during the Championship Series.

Federal authorities at the IPR Center, in conjunction with the NHL, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are teaming up with local law enforcement, as well as other public and private sector partners , to identify online markets, flea markets, retail outlets, pop-up shops and street vendors selling counterfeit products during the Stanley Cup Finals.

Major sporting events, such as the Stanley Cup playoffs, are prime targets for bad actors who are extremely savvy and often create fake websites or e-commerce marketplaces for the sole purpose of scamming fans. sport.

Last year, between February 2021 and 2022, the IPR Center seized more than 267,511 counterfeit sporting goods worth an estimated $97.8 million during Operation Team Player, a nationwide effort. year by the IPR Center to combat the illegal importation of counterfeit sports. clothing and entertainment items.

“The NHL greatly appreciates the assistance of the IPR Center, HSI, CBP and their law enforcement partners in protecting hockey fans from scammers, especially during the Stanley Cup Finals” , said Tom Prochnow, senior vice president, legal of NHL Enterprises, LP

“Our partnership with the NHL is just one example of our global efforts to prevent criminals from profiting from the sale of counterfeit and trademarked merchandise. No one knows their product better than those who create and manufacture it, which is why we leverage industry expertise to help identify criminals to prevent them from scamming consumers,” said James. Mancuso, director of the IPR Center.

“For any fans looking to celebrate the Avs making the playoffs by wearing a jersey or purchasing other merchandise, beware of counterfeits,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Denver. . “HSI and the NHL will be diligent in tracking down counterfeit merchandise being sold to unsuspecting fans in an effort to better protect consumers.”

Here are some tips for sports fans to keep in mind while shopping to avoid being victimized:

  • Buy only from reputable outlets, such as official team stores, rather than purchasing items from street vendors, flea markets, online auctions or other dubious sources .
  • When buying goods online, be aware that criminals often use photos of legitimate products on their websites despite selling fraudulent products. Consumers are advised not to purchase expensive items from third-party websites.
  • Only purchase event tickets and/or collectibles from trusted sources.
  • If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. While some counterfeiters may entice fans with a low price or a 2-for-1 deal, just as many try to legitimize their merchandise with a higher price.
  • Watch out for torn labels, poor quality, sloppy stitching, and uneven marks on garments.
  • Check statements – keep a record of purchases and copies of confirmation pages to compare with bank statements. If there is an anomaly, report it immediately.

The IPR Centre’s message to consumers is simple: buy from reputable retailers, be careful when shopping online and use common sense. If a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is and it’s likely to be a scam or even a security threat. Purchasing authorized merchandise ensures the quality and life of this keepsake, while providing a trusted source for concerns, returns and exchanges.

About the DPI Center

For more than two decades, the IPR Center, together with its public and private sector partners, has led the government’s response effort to combat global intellectual property theft and enforce intellectual property rights violations. . The center was created to combat global intellectual property theft and therefore plays an important role in monitoring the sale and distribution of counterfeit products on websites, social media and the dark web.