Shopping season is now in full swing, and more than ever Americans are using the internet for making their purchases. 

Shopping online is a wonderful option—you get to avoid the traffic and jammed parking lots, and have access to more retailers and products than could ever be squeezed into one shopping plaza.  Yet shopping online does make it more of a challenge to spot counterfeit products.

As I’ve written before, property rights (including intellectual property rights) play an important role in our economy, encouraging investment and innovation.  But consumers often also pay a price when they are sold counterfeit merchandise.  Sometimes that may just be overpaying for an inferior product, but when it comes to pharmaceuticals and high-tech equipment, counterfeits can also be a safety hazard. 

The Chamber of Commerce has put together a helpful website on how to spot counterfeits and educating people on the dangers that fakes can poise to consumers.  The best advice I’ve heard:  We all want to find good deals, but watch out for too-good-too-be-true offers, because they almost certainly are just that.