McGruff the Crime Dog unleashed in anti-counterfeiting campaign

Crime-fighting canine McGruff the Crime Dog is looking to take a bite out of counterfeiting.

The talking cartoon dog, sporting his trademark trench coat, is part of a new anti-counterfeiting campaign by the nonprofit National Crime Prevention Council and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which is part of the Justice Department.

The campaign seeks to dispel any notion that counterfeiting is a victimless crime. "It costs the U.S. economy tens of billions of dollars each year, deprives people of their livelihoods, encourages criminal activities by gangs and organized crime groups, and sometimes results in serious illness or injury," the campaign Web page said.

One ad depicts a stylishly dressed young woman — toting fake designer purse, watch, bracelet, scarf and sunglasses — and asks: "What do your fake fashions say about you?"

"I'm a phony," the ad concludes.

Another ad shows a sad-looking woman holding film equipment. "That pirated movie you just bought ... cost someone her job. Pirated goods put jobs at risk."

The ads alternatively attempt to pluck at the heartstrings, inspire fear or rouse worries of public embarrassment. Its slogan: "Counterfeits hurt. You have the power to stop them."

shan.li@latimes.com

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