Online shoppers are getting ripped off and its hurting the economy and workers, according to a new report issued Tuesday by the Better Business Bureau.
While many consumers shop online without a hitch, BBB Upstate New York president and CEO Warren Clark says studies show one out of four people have received a counterfeit item.
"What we are seeing is that far too often fake websites steal photos of real brand name products and post them for sale," Clark said.
He says almost anything that can be shipped is being counterfeited, everything from phone chargers to cosmetics. According to the report , 88% of counterfeit goods come from China and Hong Kong.
U.S. Attorney James Kennedy says oftentimes people knowingly buy counterfeit goods because they are cheaper.
"This means that legitimate companies face competitors that steal their intellectual property without paying taxes or without complying with the regulations and quality standards that the legitimate businesses do," Kennedy said.
The report shows counterfeiting and intellectual property piracy costs the U.S. economy upwards of $250 billion and 750,000 jobs annually.