Program to Increase Awareness of Electrical Counterfeits

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), in cooperation with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), has announced the launch of Counterfeits Can Kill, a national electrical counterfeit awareness program to help educate the public about the dangers of counterfeit electrical products.

Trademark counterfeiting of electrical products is on the rise, with counterfeiters often targeting well-known industrial and consumer brands. Yet, the majority of U.S. consumers are unaware that products such as electronics are being counterfeited and that there are simple steps they can take to avoid these dangerous devices.

As the holiday season settles against the backdrop of an economic recession, U.S. consumers shopping for inexpensive gifts face increased risk of exposure to potentially dangerous counterfeit electrical products."The safety risks associated with buying a counterfeit watch or purse are fairly minimal," said Brett Brenner, president of the Electrical Safety Foundation International. "However, counterfeit extension cords, cell phone chargers, and circuit breakers pose a very real threat. We are seeing multiple examples of fires igniting and fatalities occurring because someone unknowingly purchased something as mundane as a knock-off extension cord."

Although some counterfeit goods may appear to be excellent copies, these products often use inferior materials and lax methods to produce substandard products that can be advertised at prices unable to be matched by a genuine brand manufacturer.

"Every day more counterfeit electrical products enter into the United States undetected," Brenner said. "We need consumers to be aware that these products are out there and that they can kill."

This national awareness program offers a series of fact sheets and multimedia materials about best practices for electrical counterfeit awareness, and additional background on the Counterfeits Can Kill campaign. To access these resources, please visit www.electrical-safety.org. An educational DVD titled Counterfeits Can Kill has also been produced by ESFI and NEMA to promote this issue, and is available in both English and Spanish versions.

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