What’s wrong with buying counterfeit goods? Way more than you think.

If you’d like a luxurious handbag or a pair of top-of-the-line sneakers for a fraction of the retail cost, you’re not alone.

Consumer demand for steeply discounted designer merchandise ensures street vendors a brisk business in fashions and accessories that look like authentic runway styles. But while those trendy handbags might appear to be a bargain, the hidden costs are staggering.

Counterfeit products cost the global economy an estimated $250 billion a year. That figure translates into lost revenue to legitimate designer businesses and their employees — and, as a consequence, lost jobs.

Manufacturing, distributing and selling counterfeit goods is illegal and unethical. Buying designer “fakes” (goods that carry a designer’s logo or label but were not made by the designer’s company) violates the intellectual property rights of the designer.

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