Watch out for scammers at Seahawks playoff game

Jan 8, 2014, 3:15 PM | Updated: 3:37 pm
Federal officials display some of the $13.6 million in fake NFL merchandise seized during the 2012 season leading up to the Super Bowl. (AP file)
(AP file)

Tens of thousands of people will be flocking to Seattle for Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game at CenturyLink Field and the Better Business Bureau warns some of them are coming to town looking to rip fans off.

“We’re expecting plenty of scammers to fly in just to sell counterfeit stuff,” says David Quinlan with the Better Business Bureau of Alaska, Oregon, and Western Washington. “This is one of the most highly anticipated sporting events for Seattle and a lot of con artists will be looking to make a quick buck.”

From counterfeit tickets to knockoff jerseys, it’s a huge problem. Federal officials seized $13.6 million in fake NFL merchandise during the 2012 season leading up to the Super Bowl as part of its Operation Red Zone.

While it can cost teams and official retail sellers, it can also leave fans stuck with poor quality merchandise.

The BBB says fans can prevent getting scammed by shopping at official team stores or licensed resellers. And if you’re buying from somebody on the street, use extreme caution.

“You’re going to get what you pay for. When you go to these vendors that are on the street selling jerseys for low discount prices, that should be a red flag,” Quinlan cautions. “The stitching can be off, it’s uneven, you throw on a shirt and when it starts raining the dye starts running off.”

Even if the price is higher, it doesn’t mean it’s the real thing. Quinlan says more sophisticated scammers bootleg official team and NFL logos and put it on their gear.

Counterfeiting is considered one of the fastest growing economic crimes worldwide, accounting for nearly six percent of global trade worth an estimated $600 billion a year, according to the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau.

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