Buyer Beware – Fraud on the Rise: CSA Group Salutes Fraud Prevention Month with Consumer Tips on Avoiding Dangerous Purchases

When people hear the word “counterfeit”, they most often think of fake fashion apparel or bootlegged movies, but counterfeits stretch far beyond handbags and Hollywood. To help raise awareness of the issue, CSA Group is supporting the Government of Canada’s March Fraud Prevention Month campaign aimed at helping consumers become more familiar and savvy when it comes to counterfeiting and related fraud issues. As a leading testing and certification organization, CSA Group is committed to public safety and anti-counterfeiting and wants to remind consumers to be cautious that their household gas, electrical and plumbing products are the real deal too. The counterfeits are fake but their danger is very real; counterfeits can kill!
Counterfeiting is one of the biggest frauds happening each day, globally. From 2005 to 2011, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) noted a significant yearly increase in the number of reported occurrences of counterfeit and pirated products. To shed light on the dangers associated with counterfeit products, CSA Group is sharing tips with consumers for spotting frauds and fakes.

“CSA Group makes a concerted effort to protect consumers through awareness campaigns about the dangers of counterfeits, consumer safety tips and vigilant market surveillance,” says Terry Hunter, Manager of Anti-Counterfeiting at CSA Group. “It is important for consumers to be mindful of the dangers of counterfeits by learning how to avoid purchasing counterfeit goods that may present a significant threat to their families and homes.”

In Canada, all electrical and gas products must be tested and marked as certified in order to be sold legally. Counterfeiters know that in order to fool consumers into thinking products are legitimate, they must fake not only a brand name but also a certification mark. Because the fakes are not tested and certified by an accredited organization such as CSA Group, they may be missing required safety features or use toxic materials, putting consumers at risk of injury or death.

including electrical products and consumer electronics, as well as toys, batteries, toiletries, pharmaceuticals, and household products.

CSA Group advises consumers to look for these signs to help identify potentially dangerous counterfeit products:

  • Look for and inspect the mark: Avoid electrical products if a label from a recognized certification organization such as CSA Group is missing. Look closely at the mark to ensure it matches with the design and colour of certification marks from the same organization on other similar products
  • Be cautious of inferior packaging: Counterfeit packaging often has a poor design or only partial illustrations. Misspellings and unclear printing on products and labels may be another indicator of a fake product. Check for a discrepancy between the contents of the product package and its description, as well as missing product information or package enclosures
  • Look for a recognized name: When a product doesn’t include a brand identifier or trademark, it may be a counterfeit. Brand-name companies want you to know whose product you’re buying. Also look for missing return addresses or company contact information
  • Beware of huge bargains: If the pricing seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • Buy solid products: Check the “look and feel” of goods. Fake products are often too light and flimsy
  • Know your retailer: If in doubt, buy only from reputable, well-known stores with clearly stated return policies
  • Check with the experts: Confirm CSA Group certification of a product by comparing the product’s identification against the certification record at http://directories.csa-international.org

CSA Group is a founding member of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network (CACN) and, as a member, it works in cooperation with other stakeholders to bring the issue of the dangers posed by counterfeits to the attention of government, the legal community, law enforcement and the Canadian public in order to raise awareness and enact positive changes. CSA Group is also a member of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition and a coalition of certification organizations that is partnered with INTERPOL called CIAC – the Certification Industry Against Counterfeiting.

Untested child resistant medicine vials

Example of a counterfeit CSA certification mark found on untested child resistant medicine vials. CSA anticounterfeiting team worked with the RCMP to remove counterfeit CSA Mark and RCMP destroyed the bottles.

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit member-based association dedicated to advancing safety, sustainability and social good. We are an internationally-accredited standards development and testing & certification organization. We also provide consumer product evaluation and education & training services. Our broad range of knowledge and expertise includes: industrial equipment, plumbing & construction, electro-medical & healthcare, appliances & gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability. The CSA mark appears on billions of products around the world.


March 21, 2013