NFL warns fans to watch for counterfeit gear, tickets

Staff writerJanuary 30, 2014 

— Standing behind a table piled high with counterfeit NFL uniforms, hats and other merchandise, Anastasia Danias warned fans Thursday to be careful buying tickets and souvenirs for Super Bowl XVLIII.

The NFL’s chief litigation officer said, “Buying counterfeits does not mean you are getting a deal. In fact, what it means is you are putting your financial information at risk. … What it means is you are supporting sophisticated criminal enterprises.”

In addition to buying faked souvenirs, Danias said hundreds of people are turned away from the Super Bowl each year after buying counterfeit tickets.

And duped fans have no recourse, she said.

Officials displayed counterfeiter websites for the Denver Broncos and New York Giants during Thursday’s press conference then showed the team’s official website. Both were sleek and both included seals promising protection for consumers.

John Sandweg, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says Operation Team Player has seized more than 202,000 counterfeit sports items worth about $21.6 million and seized the domain names of 163 websites selling counterfeit sporting goods.

They’ve made 50 arrests.

“If you see a price that is too good to be true, it probably is,” Sandweg said.

Officials recommend going to a website or merchant you know when purchasing goods and tickets.

Security measures used for Super Bowl tickets include an embossed and raised logo and Roman numerals, a security hologram, a laser-cut date and heat-sensitive ink. There are other security measures that are kept private, Danias said.

“We know they are out there,” Danias said of counterfeit tickets for Sunday’s game. “We know they are targeting fans coming into the New York-New Jersey area. Don’t let yourself be victimized. No matter how good the tickets look and how sophisticated they are, they will not get you into the stadium on game day.”

Craig Hill: 253-597-8497

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