Imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery, but as far as counterfeiters are concerned, selling imitation duds means real dollars.
Playoff season is a perfect time for knockoff artists to sell fake wares to sports fans, but the cheap goods come with a price. Counterfeit merchandise is flimsy, and often falls apart or fades within weeks, not to mention fuels an illegal activity that sucks money from legitimate brands.
"It's a good time for counterfeiters to be selling Bruins stuff. These 'entrepreneurs' are trying to make a buck, but it's against the law," said Tom Taylor, a counterfeiting expert with OpSec Security in Copley, which handles anti-counterfeiting for the NHL.
So, what can be faked?
"You name it. Anything from shirts to top-end Bruins sweaters, hats, trinkets. If it will sell, there is somebody in the world trying to counterfeit it," said Taylor.
Taylor said sports fans can avoid knockoffs by looking closely at garment tags and trinket stickers. Legit NHL garment tags have the league's logo, and if there are patches, they should be raised.
Other bobbles should have individually serialized stickers. Salesmen often lurk in the TD Garden parking lot and sell merch from their cars, so avoid them.
"Use common sense," said Taylor. "Where are you buying it? In general, these (unlicensed) vendors like to sell outside T stations, or in Downtown Crossing, or in public parks. People don't realize until a week later when the stuff starts to unravel, and by that time the vendor is long gone."
For many sports fans, figuring out what's fake and what's legit is a matter of facing reality. Licensed products are almost always more costly, so if the price is too good to be true, it is probably an impostor.