Five Tips to Help Keep your Dorm Room Safe from the Real Dangers of Fake Goods

CSA Group offers advice for avoiding counterfeit purchases for back-to-school

Beware of bargain deals when you’re shopping for the college or university dorm room this fall, warns CSA Group, a leading standards, certification and testing organization. Being budget-savvy may seem like a good way to save a few dollars but if items such as electronics, hot plates, space heaters and bedside lamps turn out to be counterfeit, they can present a significant threat to students and their roommates.

“Legitimate home electronic items used for campus living are tested and marked as certified in order to be sold legally,” says Anthony Toderian, Manager, Corporate Affairs. “Products that fail to prove their authenticity may be missing required safety features or may have been made using toxic materials, putting students at risk of illness or even fatal electrical shock or fire.”

CSA Group advises back-to-school shoppers to look for these signs to help identify potentially dangerous counterfeit products for their new home away from home:

  • Beware of huge bargains: If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Know the fair market value of products and be suspicious if they are significantly undervalued. Counterfeiters only make a profit by cutting corners on materials such as substandard wiring or safety features.
  • 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.
  • 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. Fake products are often light-weight and feel flimsy.
  • 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 color of certification marks from the same organization on other similar products. To confirm CSA Group certification of a product, compare the product’s identification against the Certified Product Listing.
  • Know your retailer: If in doubt, buy only from reputable, well-known stores or established online retailers with clearly stated return policies.  If buying online, ensure the product is certified for use in your country.

CSA Group 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 consumers 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.

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.


Anthony Toderian
Manager, Corporate Affairs
CSA Group
[email protected]


August 26, 2013