The Fed warns as many as 250,000 counterfeit airbags may have gone into vehicles repaired after a crash in recent years.

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Safety experts are concerned about the continued proliferation of phony airbags as a genuine safety hazard. Chris Basso of Carfax.com explains unscrupulous body shops try to 'cheap it out.

"A manufacturer's airbag usually costs between a thousand, maybe 1500 dollars."

But Basso says the phony airbag is a whole different story.

"A counterfeit airbag that's purchased online, on the black market, could be a few hundred dollars."

Vehicle owners may be sorry to find that when they're in another crash, that the cheap bag does not work. Basso says Carfax can tell you about a vehicle's airbag deployment history, and if the airbag light on the dash stays on, get it checked out.