$300K Worth of Counterfeit Makeup Seized From Downtown L.A.

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Counterfeit makeup seized from downtown Los Angeles in January 2020. (Credit: LAPD Captain Lillian Carranza)

Counterfeit makeup seized from downtown Los Angeles in January 2020. (Credit: LAPD Captain Lillian Carranza)

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Officers seized over $300,000 in counterfeit makeup from the downtown Los Angeles area earlier this week, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

“Please purchase from an authorized retailer,” LAPD Captain Lillian Carranza said on Twitter Thursday while sharing photos of the piles of confiscated cosmetic products.

The makeup, which came from China, was found in a store and included counterfeit MAC and Kylie Cosmetics lip kits, which have become a frequent find on the makeup black market.

In 2018, an LAPD task force visited 21 locations in the Los Angeles Fashion District’s Santee Alley and seized about $700,000 in counterfeit cosmetics that were found to contain high levels of bacteria, human waste and animal feces.

The bust came after brand-name companies received complaints from customers who said they had bumps and rashes after using products bought from the area.

“Previous test of counterfeit makeup revealed animal feces and chemicals that can be hazardous to your health,” Carranza said after the most recent seizure.

No arrests were made in connection with Thursday’s bust, according to the captain.

City officials have long warned customers against using counterfeit and untested makeup and facial creams.

Last year, a Tulare County woman was arrested on suspicion of smuggling in skin creams containing dangerous levels of mercury and then selling them on Facebook.

The FBI has said that the volume of counterfeit cosmetics and fragrances coming into the U.S. is on the rise, and testing found that the fake products can contain dangerous chemicals like arsenic, beryllium, cadmium or even DEHP, a probable carcinogen.

The agency told customers they can avoid buying the fake products by checking to see if the packaging differs slightly from that of the authentic brand, checking whether the product’s consistency or texture doesn’t feel right or see if it’s being advertised as a “limited edition.”

The price is also an indicator.

Discounted products found online or at flea markets and mall kiosks are likely counterfeit, the FBI said.

More than 72% of global trade-related counterfeiting comes from China alone and sellers are increasingly moving online, according to 2016 report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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