- Lillian L. Carranza, the captain of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Commercial Crimes Division, tweeted on January 9 that $300,000 worth of counterfeit makeup had been seized from the Downtown LA area.
- The bust comes nearly two years after the LAPD seized $700,000 worth of counterfeit cosmetics from Santee Alley, a shopping district known for selling knockoff goods.
- Though counterfeit cosmetics are still commonly sold at markets and online, consumers can take measures to protect themselves when shopping.
- Packaging typos and low prices, for example, are common indicators that a product might be fake.
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The Los Angeles Police Department has seized $300,000 worth of counterfeit cosmetics.
In a tweet shared on January 9, Lillian L. Carranza – the LAPD’s Captain of the Commercial Crimes Division – said the fake makeup was recovered in the Downtown LA area. The products, which were designed to look like Kylie Cosmetics and other popular brands, were found by the LAPD’s Intellectual Property Crimes Unit.
“Your CCD Intellectual Property Crimes Unit recovered over $300,000 in counterfeit product from #DTLA area,” Carranza wrote. “Please purchase from an authorized retailer. Previous test of counterfeit makeup revealed animal feces and chemicals that can be hazardous to your health. #safetyfirst”
Your CCD Intellectual Property Crimes Unit recovered over $300,000.00 in counterfeit product from #DTLA area. Please purchase from an authorized retailer. Previous test of counterfeit makeup reveled animal feces and chemicals that can be hazardous to your health. #safetyfirst pic.twitter.com/otmAJf8OE1
— Lillian L. Carranza???????? (@LAPDCARRANZA) January 9, 2020
Counterfeit cosmetics are rampant within the beauty industry
Just two years prior to their most-recent bust, the LAPD seized $700,000 worth of counterfeit makeup. In an April 2018 tweet, Commander of the LAPD Traffic Division Marc Reina said that the products were found at 21 different locations in LA’s fashion district. The area includes Santee Alley, a shopping district known for selling knockoffs.
It was later confirmed that the products tested positive for bacteria, animal feces, and other hazardous properties.
Busted! Major Task Force hits 21 locations in the @LAFashionDist and nets $700,000 in Counterfeit cosmetics found to contain bacteria and human waste. The best price is not always the best deal! #ProtectingOurCommunity pic.twitter.com/gliJ8L2F9F
— Commander Marc Reina (@LAPDMarcReina) April 13, 2018
Refinery29 also investigated Santee Alley back in 2017. At the time, vendors told the outlet that customers were aware of the risks associated with counterfeits, but ignored red flags because they “only care about the label.”
InStyle shared similar sentiments from counterfeit-cosmetics shoppers in 2019. Some women interviewed by the publication said they purchased fake products online because they love to display nice packaging. Others said they could hardly tell the difference between real and fake products, aside from some off-putting scents.
Here’s how to tell if your beauty products are the real deal
In a 2019 episode of “Broken,” a Netflix series about the dangers of consumerism, private investigator Kris Buckner says he uses a system of “three P’s” – which stands for price, place, and packaging – to tell if a makeup item is real.
“If something is half the price of what a legitimate item would be, that should be what we call an indication,” Buckner said in the docuseries.
“A lot of these major cosmetics companies are only gonna be sold through their online outlets, or through major famous retail locations,” he continued. “So any other place, it’s gonna be counterfeit or stolen.”
Packaging can also be an indicator of a product’s authenticity. If there are typos, fuzzy photos, or strange colors on a product’s box, it likely isn’t real.
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Thank you @netflix for the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing documentary! “Broken” airs on Netflix tomorrow (Nov 27th) and is a 4 part series with cosmetics being the first episode. Go behind the scenes of the cosmetic industry to experience things never talked about. From the producers of the series “Rotten” and Anthony Bourdain, be ready to watch an eye opening investigative documentary.
As Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower previously reported, it’s also important to check where items come from when purchasing makeup online. Marketplace sites like Amazon, for example, allow third-party vendors to sell their goods.
When purchasing makeup, however, you’ll likely want to avoid these sellers and instead look for items shipped and sold by Amazon, or the beauty brand itself. If you do wish to purchase from a third-party vendor, it’s crucial to look at the shop’s ratings to get a sense of its reputation.
Of course, online reviews can also be falsified, so shoppers should consider using tools like Fakespot, which can determine the likelihood of a review being false.
Representatives for Lillian L. Carranza did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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