Safe from Scams: Counterfeit handbags

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Purses and accessories go hand-in-hand with high fashion and are always in demand. (KFSN)

Purses and accessories go hand-in-hand with high fashion and are always in demand.

"I had admired a friend's pocketbook and it was a Louis Vuitton and it was a specific style. But was told that they discontinued it," said Pam, fraud victim.

So Pam went online and found a site that claimed all items were sent with a letter of authenticity. The price was pretty much on target for what would be an authentic bag. So Pam ordered the purse and a piece of carry-on luggage totaling more than $14,000. "The day it did arrive, there was a red flag because the certificate of authenticity was not there. So I kind of figured something was off," said Pam.

But that wasn't the biggest surprise. "Then literally within an hour or two was when I received the phone call."

The call was from postal inspectors who were tracking the website and items being sent to customers. Pam was told the bag would be confiscated as evidence.

The investigation began after several customer complaints were filed. "We had a representative from Louis Vuitton come in and examine all the bags and they were able to confirm they were counterfeit," said Adam Fascio, US postal inspector.

Pam wasn't alone. Inspectors said dozens of victims lost close to one million dollars. "I thought it was a great find and I was wrong. I've never gone to a site since then and just pretty much purchase my bags the good old fashioned way," said Pam.

Three suspects pleaded guilty to attempted wire fraud.
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