You Don't Wanna Buy Fake NBA Gear, Right?

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It sucks to get faked out on the court, mostly because it makes you look silly. It sucks even more to get faked out off the court, mostly because it makes you look foolish and naive. With NBA All-Star festivities starting this Friday and leading up to the 2013 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, hustlers will be on the prowl looking to prey on the foolish and naive. Learn how to spot fakes, and don't look foolish or naive.

Since 1992, the NBA has been involved in the seizure of more than 10 million pieces of counterfeit merchandise, valued at more than $389 million, according to the CAPS (the Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports logos).

"Counterfeiters take advantage of sports fans and authorized retailers around high-profile events like the NBA All-Star Game," cautions Ayala Deutsch, senior vice president & chief intellectual property counsel for the NBA. "By giving people the information they need to avoid buying unauthorized merchandise, the NBA can help protect both consumers and legitimate tax-paying businesses in Houston from those seeking to profit by selling low-quality items."

If you go home with a fake, your weekend will be ruined. Follow these rules, and don't ruin your weekend.

-- Look for the hologram sticker or holographic hangtag and a sewn-in or screen-printed label identifying the name of the NBA licensee (e.g., adidas, Majestic, UNK, Mitchell & Ness, etc.).

-- Shop at NBA-authorized retail locations, such as NBA All-Star Jam Session at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Toyota Center, and official hotels -- rather than buying items from street vendors, flea markets, or other questionable sources.

-- Beware of ripped tags or irregular markings on apparel.

According to the NBA, counterfeiting is estimated to cost U.S. businesses $200 to $250 million annually and is directly responsible for the loss of more than 750,000 American jobs per year.

"This type of criminal activity hurts legitimate U.S. businesses, and by extension, our economy. Participating in highly visible events like the NBA All-Star game here in Houston is an important way to keep the public informed about the impact of this crime," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of the Homeland Security Investigations in Houston.

So have fun this weekend, grab your significant other a gift or something for your kid, but stick to the playbook and make sure you don't get faked out. Remember, when you get faked out, you look naive, you hurt the economy and ruin everyone's All-Star weekend. Don't ruin everyone's All-Star weekend.

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