With just over a week left until Super Bowl LVI, federal agents are calling for an all-out blitz on counterfeit items.
Scammers consider everything from NFL merchandise to parking spaces as fair game, and law enforcement is working to intercept the fraudsters before the Feb. 13 matchup at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
“Counterfeit products affect American industry, affect American jobs and affect American innovation,” said Carlos Martel of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
At one local warehouse, fake jerseys, hats, athletic gear and other merchandise is on display, serving as an example of the differences between the real thing and a knockoff.
“Criminals are deceiving and exploiting fan enthusiasm by sending consumers low-quality, fake products,” Martel said.
With tens of thousands of people expected to fill SoFi, parking will also be at a premium in Inglewood.
Many spaces at the stadium are typically reserved for season ticket holders or VIPs, and with Super Bowl-related event tents taking up chunks of the parking area, countless visitors will be forced to hunt for off-site spaces.
The city of Inglewood has set up six remote parking locations with shuttle service, but other people are getting into the act.
The city permits some locations to sell spaces for spillover traffic, but many homeowners who are not permitted will sell spaces on their property through social media or websites like Craigslist.
Sometimes, those spaces will be purchased by scalpers, who will resell them at a significant markup.
Other times, the person posting the parking space doesn’t own it at all, leaving the buyer in the lurch.
While the risk of being defrauded out of a parking spot can be costly, so can a legitimately purchased space.
The most expensive Super Bowl parking space is $4,850, though the L.A. Super Bowl Host Committee says for Super Bowl Sunday, the average parking spot within two miles of SoFi Stadium costs $250.