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Casio recently had their brush with terrorism — now it’s Rolex’s turn. According to this Reuters article, items like fake Rolexes and counterfeit designer handbags (in other words, things you buy on the street rather than in stores) may fund terrorism.

Apparently there is evidence that counterfeiters in New York have sent money to Hamas and Hezbollah, groups considered by the US government to be terrorist organizations. So far, there have not been any direct links to al-Qaeda, but don’t let that sooth your conscience. That money is very difficult to track, so there’s no telling where it actually ends up.

The article outlines several reasons why buying items like fake Rolexes is a really bad idea:

Don’t buy fake Rolexes

  1. You don’t know where the money is going. Whether buying a fake Rolex is funding terrorism or not, the money is clearly going to someone who is morally depraved.
  2. You don’t know who makes these goods. Fake Rolexes are probably not made by children, but fake handbags very well could be produced by children in other countries forced to work against their will.
  3. Counterfeiting takes tax revenue away from the state. If you’re buying online, this is less of an issue, but if you’re buying on the streets of New York, this could have a very real impact. Those tax dollars go toward creating and maintaining government jobs. In other words, buying a fake Rolex doesn’t just take money away from Rolex (if fact, people who buy fake goods probably wouldn’t buy the real thing, anyway), but could potentially jeopardize a state employee’s livelihood.

The bottom line is that buying counterfeit goods is not a fun, harmless activity. My advice is that if you only have a few bucks to spend on a watch, there are plenty of excellent affordable options out there. If you really want something Swiss, why buy a cheap fake Rolex when you can buy a nice authentic Swatch? For the cost of a high-end automatic fake Rolex, you could probably come pretty close to buying an authentic Tissot. Check eBay for good deals (though be careful — there are plenty of scammers working online auctions, as well), or check the many watch forums out there. Or if you really have to have a Rolex on your wrist, there’s always the option of doing it the old-fashioned way, and actually saving up for it.

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