Was your Purchase the Deal of the Century or a Scam?

CSA Group Offers Tips for Recognizing Counterfeit Products During Fraud Prevention Month

Thousands of Canadians unknowingly purchase counterfeit products every single year, putting them at risk of potentially serious injuries, illnesses or even death. March is International Fraud Prevention Month and CSA Group, a leader in public safety, testing and certification, wants to offer Canadians tips and tools to spot counterfeit goods and help protect themselves from becoming fraud victims.

Counterfeit products are often associated with consumer goods like watches and bags, but fake products have been found in every industry. In the US and Europe in 2015 counterfeit goods worth more than two billion US dollars were seized.[1] With the growth of online sales, new avenues have become available for counterfeiters. As counterfeiters become more tech-savvy, it is becoming harder to track them down.

“We are seeing counterfeit products in everything from prescription pill bottles to construction materials and car parts and the trend is growing,” says Terry Hunter, Manager of Anti-Counterfeiting at CSA Group.  “Since fakes are not certified by an accredited organization, they may be missing safety features, use toxic or inappropriate materials, and can cause serious risk to the user. It’s important for consumers to be aware and take the necessary steps to spot counterfeit goods.”

CSA Group offers the following tips to keep you safe from fakes:

It’s a steal: Best deal ever? Think again. If the price seems too good to be true, it likely is. Counterfeiters often make a profit by using substandard materials and cutting corners, increasing the risk to the customer. Know the fair market value of products and be suspicious of the product if it’s significantly underpriced.

See a mark?: Avoid products, especially electrical goods, if they don’t have a label from a recognized certification organization, such as CSA Group. If there is a mark, look closely to ensure it matches the design and colour of the recognized certification organization. To confirm if a product is CSA Group certified, compare the identification label against the Certified Product Listing.

Know your brand: Brand-name companies want consumers to know whose product they’re buying. When a product doesn’t include a brand identifier or trademark, it may be counterfeit. Look for missing return addresses, company contact information, warranties or instructions.

Feel the weight: Check the “look and feel” of goods. Fake products are often too light and flimsy. Plus, counterfeit packaging is commonly poorly designed or includes partial illustrations, misspellings or unclear printing on products and labels.

Shop smart: When in doubt, buy products from reputable, well-known stores or established online retailers that offer clear return policies. If purchasing online, especially electrical products, ensure the product is certified for use in your country.

CSA Group is a founding member of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network (CACN) and works in cooperation with other stakeholders to bring the issue of the hazards 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, an association 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.


Allison Hawkins
Manager, Corporate Affairs
CSA Group
[email protected]


February 24, 2016