Watching out for fake Super Bowl merchandise

7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda reports on how to spot fake items
Seven On Your Side
January 27, 2014 3:17:35 PM PST
Big money will be spent on Super Bowl merchandise, to remember the big game.

But before you spend your hard-earned cash, you need to know how to stop the real stuff from the fakes, to make sure you get the real deal.

Looking for NFL tags and stickers isn't enough.

Organized, multinational crime rings are replicating these real products as fast as the NFL can make them.

"This is the best souvenir because you can't buy it anywhere unless you go to the game," said Giants fan Vinny Pasculli.

A 5 Super Bowl veteran, Vinny always looks for the official NFL hologram before buying any big game swag.

"You don't know who you're getting them from, you don't know if there's lead involved in the making of these," he said.

As a lead paint removal expert, Pasculli knows the dangers of high lead levels often found in the paint on cheap counterfeits which flood the Super Bowl market every year.

"Please stay away from those and understand that what you're doing is supporting criminal enterprise, not just trying to get a deal on a cheaper piece of memorabilia," said the NFL's Vice President of Legal Affairs, Anastasia Danias.

As Head of Intellectual Property for the NFL, Danias sees higher quality fakes each year being traced to organized, multi-national crime rings.

Of three jerseys she showed us, only one was an authentic Seahawks jersey.

The two phonies, even have neck labels and elaborate sales tags emblazoned with NFL brands, just like the real deal.

"We are seeing counterfeiters investing significant sums in fake holograms, which is why we're telling fans make sure you're buying from reputable sources," said Danias.

A neck label cut in half signifies the t-shirt was sold as imperfect on the secondary market.

Look for shoddy stitching, bleeding colors, and thin cheap patches on the fakes.

Compare a thick legal NFL patch to knockoff.

Also, there are three dead design giveaways.

"Super Bowl is two words, commonly misinterpreted will alway be written as two words not one," said Danias.

"You'll never see the Lombardi trophy by itself as opposed to part of the logo."

And a C for an expensive captain's jersey, means counterfeit.

"These captains jerseys are never sold at retail," she said.

Some items sell swiftly online, and trusting fans looking for a deal buy them and get in double trouble.

"They never get the jersey or use their credit cards for other purposes."

Every year hundreds of customers buying what they think are realy NFL products online, report their identity has been stolen or credit cards run up with charges.

Bottom line: buy from reputable stores, like Modell's, an NFL partner along with Shoprite and Target.

Every genuine item has a hologram and control number, plus you can tell they are high quality.