ATLANTA — The federal government's own watchdogs told Channel 2 Action News the Department of Homeland Security can do a better job of cracking down on counterfeit merchandise.
The feds found the same thing our consumer investigator Jim Strickland recently uncovered.
Pro Quality Labs in Cartersville helped Strickland and his team separate the authentic cosmetics from the fakes we brought last spring on eBay.
Federal investigators went shopping too, and every bit of makeup they bought online was bogus.
"It's not just the high-end shoes and purses anymore. Pretty much everything you see on line, is something that can be counterfeited," said lead investigator Kimberly Gianopoulos.
Strickland arranged for the Government Accountability Office to show our Cox Washington Bureau the dozens of items bought from highly rated sellers on eBay and Amazon.
Twenty of those 47 items were fakes.
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Two thirds of the Yeti cups they bought looked real, but the company doesn't make a hot pink tumbler so that is the one that would be not authentic. Neither do they make a green one.
The investigators found one in 10 phone chargers were fake and potentially faulty, but nothing was more likely to be counterfeit than make up.
13 of the 13 samples we tested weren't real.
It's not so easy to identify either. Laboratory tests revealed makeup we bought online was also cheap imitation.
We didn't find toxins, but officials say that's also always a risk.
"It's a little scary not knowing what the ingredients are. If I don't even know where it came from or just looks, the whole thing looks kind of sketchy," said Dee Dee Huey, the woman who served as our shopper during the investigation.
The feds investigation is part of a review of Homeland's Security's efforts to stop counterfeit items from coming in. The variety of fakes they're looking for is expanding.
"That's why it's so important for them to figure out where their best efforts can be concentrated," said Gianopoulos.
If whatever you're buying online is so deeply discounted it's hard to fathom, that's one red flag you're buying a fake.
The Government Accountability Office said it's not just the quality of the fakes, it's how they're coming in, that makes the job of stopping them even tougher.
Cox Media Group