The task force was created to curb the production and sale of fake merchandise and tickets, a cause that unites both the customer and also legitimate manufacturers and vendors. Undercover investigators will be vigilantly looking for counterfeit goods during All-Star Week around Kauffman Stadium and the Kansas City Convention Center, home of MLB's All-Star FanFest.
The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition estimates that businesses lose an estimated $600 billion annually to counterfeiting. Counterfeit merchandise and tickets will be subject to seizure, and anyone guilty of producing or selling counterfeit goods can be subject to penalties that include fines up to $2 million and imprisonment for up to 10 years under federal, state and local laws.
Ethan Orlinsky, MLB's senior vice president and general counsel, issued the following statement.
"Major League Baseball and the Royals work with local, state and Federal law enforcement agencies to protect our fans taking part in 2012 MLB All-Star Week and punish counterfeiters to the fullest extent of the law," it said. "The Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force will take all necessary steps to enforce the laws that protect fans from counterfeit merchandise and tickets to ensure fans have the best experience possible and lasting memories of All-Star Week in Kansas City."
Major League Baseball offered the following tips to let fans know they're buying legitimate goods:
Look for the hologram sticker or holographic hangtag with raised red baseball stitching design
Look for a sewn-in or screen-printed label or notice identifying a licensee that has been authorized by Major League Baseball Properties to produce "official" licensed merchandise.
Shop at MLB-authorized retail locations, such as the Official Team Store and MLB.com -- rather than buying items from itinerant street vendors, flea markets, or other questionable sources.
Beware of ripped tags or irregular markings on apparel.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.