While the big e-commerce websites downplay both the numbers and significance of sales of fake products, there is one area where the sellers might want to put more attention.
It remains possible to purchase fake badges and identification credentials on Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) that purchasers could use to pass themselves off as FBI or Secret Service agents. Amazon has a stated policy against the sale of fake or counterfeit items, but according to The Counterfeit Report website, despite the fact that Amazon has been notified many times that it is selling fake items, the company's claim is "illusory."
According the website:
Terrorism is in the forefront of public safety concerns daily, yet Amazon allows current style replica FBI and U.S. Secret Service badges on its website, which were easily purchased by The Counterfeit Report. Reports to Amazon went unaddressed, and the listings remain.
The Counterfeit Report also cited three instances in which the consequences of counterfeit badges and credentials were "indisputable:"
- False credentials and badges have been used to attempt restricted area access at airports, including an August 2015 incident in which a man was indicted for impersonating a federal law enforcement agent. He used a counterfeit Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) badge and credentials to enter the Naval Nuclear Training Command in South Carolina while armed with a Sig Sauer pistol.
- In another incident, a man watching a movie at a theatre in Michigan was wearing body armor and carrying a firearm. When approached by police, he presented a counterfeit Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) badge and credentials.
- In January 2014, a man attempted to gain access to the secure area of Reagan National Airport using a counterfeit CIA badge, but was prevented from doing so after Transportation Security Administration officers noticed inconsistencies with the man’s statements and credentials.
Here is an illustration from The Counterfeit Report showing both real and fake badges. Can you tell the difference?