Agents work to protect Super Bowl fans from fake products

GLENDALE, Ariz. (NewsNation) — With just two days until one of the biggest sporting events of the year, security has kicked into high gear in Glendale, Arizona — not just to protect the stadium but also to nail counterfeiters ripping off fans with fake merchandise.

Federal, state and local law enforcement have started to monitor every move and inch around Super Bowl LVII.

“Aviation security, cargo screening, cargo inspection, video surveillance, we deploy our assets to achieve these critical elements of security,” U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said at a press conference.

NewsNation received a full-access behind-the-scenes look at how authorities prepare ahead of the big game.

A team of federal agents hunted for fake products of NFL teams that counterfeiters try to sell fans for a profit.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Ramirez said that every day, they intercept these shipments.

They said that anything can be a fake — from hats, jerseys and Super Bowl rings to even the Lombardi Trophy.

Within the last year, a special task force called Operation Team Player seized more than 180,000 counterfeit products worth about $23 million.

“The merchandise that the NFL so proudly markets — that is such a boon to the fans, their friends, the market — is something that we are watching very closely to ensure that it is a marketplace with integrity,” Mayorkas said.

So, how do you know if a product is real or fake?

Just by looking at the merchandise, it’s hard to tell which is a counterfeit product or not. However, experts explained how they weed out the fakes.

Agents said the key to inspecting the quality of the stitching and the feel of the cloth is to look for the hologram. If it changes color and displays a football, it’s genuine. They said the fakes won’t have any of that.

“That is the indicator that it is a genuine licensed NFL article. All of the NFL articles, from the most expensive products to the most innocuous products will have that hologram on there,” Special Agent Thomas Duffy with Homeland Security Investigations said.

Also this year, the NFL is cracking down on scalpers trying to sell fake tickets to the Super Bowl game itself. It’s important to know that every single ticket to the big game is now completely digital.

Image comparison of a real hologram on official NFL merchandise. (Credit: NewsNation)

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