By Jeff Todd
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS4) - Officials from all over the U.S. and are descending on the San Francisco Bay Area to go after counterfeit merchandise at the Super Bowl.
"What you're seeing here today relates to sporting goods, sporting good products, which is just the tip of the iceberg," said Bruce Foucart, the Director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.
Foucart says criminal organizations start with merchandise like Super Bowl paraphernalia but can expand all the way into counterfeit medication, skin creams and airbags.
"This is prime for the criminal because people come out here wanting to spend money and wanting to be part of that Super Bowl process," said Foucart. "A lot of money to be made and low risk unfortunately and a lot of money to be made and because of that they invest their money into other criminal activity."
It's estimated all counterfeit goods in the United States costs the economy $300 billion a year. The loss of taxes can affect local governments but the loss of profit for companies can have a ripple effect down to employees.
Yasmen Pitts O'Keefe from United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement showed CBS4's Jeff Todd the difference between real and fake jerseys.
"Take it inside out and look at the stitching there are loose threads, it's coming apart and it's light," Pitts O'Keefe said.
She also recommended looking for hologram stickers on tags to prove something is authentic. The search for counterfeit goods isn't just happening in and around San Francisco.
"Being sold in Denver right now as we speak," he said. "We work with the legitimate manufacturer of the NFL, work with the rights holders."
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he's been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.
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