With the holiday season approaching, RCMP said shoppers should be wary of counterfeit merchandise, advising that the items don’t follow safety standards and can pose hazards.

In 2005, police seized $7.5 million worth of counterfeit goods in Canada. Last year, that number jumped to $67 million.

Police said the most common counterfeit goods are audiovisual products such as DVDs, along with designer apparel. RCMP have also encountered counterfeit chainsaws, hockey and bicycle helmets, automobile parts, light fixtures, toothpaste and circuit breakers.

In some cases, counterfeit electrical devices have caught fire and counterfeit pharmaceutical products can contain no active ingredients and may contain toxic ingredients, said police.

“There is no guarantee that counterfeit goods have gone through any kind of inspection, meet any quality standards and there is no guarantee they do not contain dangerous materials,” said Cpl. John Montgomery of the RCMP’s federal enforcement section.

Police said the public can take steps to spot counterfeit items.

RCMP said shopperes can examine the packaging and check for spelling errors or shoddy appearance.

Police said if the price is too good to be true, it probably is.

RCMP also advised to buy from reputable retailers and use extra diligence when buying items online.

Anyone with information on the sale of counterfeit items is asked to call RCMP at 204-983-1189.