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HOUSTON – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston and the Houston Police Department (HPD) are cautioning fans to beware of individuals and businesses selling counterfeit merchandise or tickets during 2022 Major League Baseball (MLB) American League Champion Series (ALCS) games in Houston. The city of Houston is scheduled to host games one and two of the series beginning today and would host a potential game six or seven if they are needed.

“Counterfeiters routinely prey on the public during postseason professional sporting events like the ALCS to illegally sell counterfeit apparel, merchandise and tickets because of the extraordinary demand in the local community,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson, HSI Houston. “To protect baseball fans from unknowingly spending their hard-earned money on substandard merchandise or fraudulent tickets, HSI and HPD have joined together to aggressively target anyone who attempts to take advantage of the public by selling counterfeit items.”

Fans who are planning on purchasing merchandise or tickets for the ALCS are encouraged to exercise due diligence to ensure the items they purchase are authentic. Specifically, HSI and HPD recommend fans:

  • Shop only at authorized retail locations, rather than street vendors, flea markets or other questionable sources.
  • Purchase tickets from a reputable dealer such as the website for the Houston Astros or Major League Baseball. If you purchase tickets on the secondary market stick with reputable companies and double check the website’s guarantee.
  • Avoid purchasing items where the price seems too good to be true.
  • Check for poor stitching, ripped tags, irregular markings, or misspellings on apparel.

Individuals who believe they have been the victim of counterfeiting during the ALCS can report the matter to their local law enforcement or to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) by filling out their online tip form.

HSI works closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement through Operation Team Player, a year-round effort developed by the IPR Center to crack down on the illegal importation of counterfeit sports apparel and entertainment merchandise. Last year, between February 2021 and February 2022, the IPR Center seized more than 267,511 counterfeit sports-related items worth an estimated $97.8 million during Operation Team Player.

For more than two decades, the IPR Center, working collaboratively with its public-private sector partners, has led the effort in the government’s response to combat global intellectual property theft and enforce intellectual property rights violations. The center was established to combat global intellectual property theft – and, accordingly, has a significant role policing the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods on websites, social media, and the dark web.

ICE breaking news HSI Houston, HPD caution consumers to beware counterfeit merchandise, tickets during 2022 ALCS games in Houston Government Agency News