VANCOUVER -- Counterfeit goods can be tempting. They’re cheap and sometimes look very close to the real thing. But when you buy fake products, you’re not only putting your own safety at risk, you could be funding organized crime or even terrorist organizations.

Between $20 and $30 billion in counterfeit products move through Canada every year, according to the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network (CACN). 

“A lot of these items are sold in markets, a lot of them are sold on the black market,” Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers said at a press conference. “(If) you see a street vendor and they’ve got really inexpensive stuff – it’s likely counterfeit.” 

The CACN has a vast collection of fake products, from AirPods to Nikes, all the way down to cheaper items like phone chargers and cases. And while it can look like there’s little difference between the knock-off and the real thing, counterfeit products aren’t tested or regulated they way they should be. 

“You could set a fire with them,” Annis said. “The people that are producing these items don’t care about quality. All they’re wanting to do is to get product into the hands of consumers at a really, really inexpensive price. And the people that are benefiting from this is organized crime.” 

She says counterfeit products are an easy way to launder money. 

“(It’s) a way for them to clean their money up and get it back into regular sources.”

Crime Stoppers is asking consumers with information on anyone selling counterfeits to make an anonymous report by calling 1-800-222-8477.