Think that bargain-priced drill you're holding is the real deal? You may want to look again. On November 13, the Power Tool Institute (PTI) issued a warning that tool counterfeiting—a practice that began in Europe—is now starting to occur in the United States. According to PTI, people impersonating sales representatives of major power tool makers are selling power tools—including Bosch, Hilti, DeWalt, Makita, and Milwaukee brands—at low prices under the ruse that they are samples from trade shows. Unfortunately, buyers often don't realize they are counterfeit until it's too late. PTI warns that fakes can be of poor quality and possibly dangerous since they are not tested or approved, despite sometimes having UL stickers.

“Counterfeit products pose a serious threat to the safety of its users and the jobsite,” says Steve Richman, president and general manager for Bosch. “Users can usually identify a counterfeit tool by its outside appearance. Often times the tools are lower quality and claim to be Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Canadian Standards Associations (CSA) compliant, when in actuality they are not.”

PTI is informing consumers that the best way to avoid being scammed is to buy tools only from reputable retailers and distributors. Suspicious activity should be reported to local authorities and to the manufacturer being falsely represented. PTI lists manufacturer contact information on its Web site,