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Fake Goods, Real Dangers

Fake goods, real dangers slideshow


The dangers of buying counterfeit products aren’t always obvious. There are economic impacts, legal implications, and health and safety risks that are important for you to know before you buy. When traveling, buy from reputable sources.


IPR health and safety infographic

Economic Impacts - Each year, CBP seizes all kinds of counterfeit products from all over the world. Counterfeiters look to make profits by making fake versions of the hottest products as soon they are available on the market. Each time you buy a counterfeit good, a legitimate company loses revenue. This translates to lost profits and U.S. jobs over time. Know who you buy from. 


Health and Safety - Counterfeiters don’t care about your well-being. They just want to make a profit. Many counterfeit products are low-quality and can cause injuries. Last year, CBP seized more items that pose health and safety risks than ever before. The top three categories were personal care, pharmaceuticals, and consumer electronics. Protect yourself and your family by avoiding potentially risky items.


IPR products seized infographic


Legal Implications - It is illegal to purchase counterfeit goods.  Bringing them into the United States may result in civil or criminal penalties. Purchasing counterfeit goods supports criminal activities such as money laundering and trafficking in illegal guns and drugs. Remember, if it seems like a steal, it is.

E-Commerce - E-Commerce is a growing segment of the U.S. economy and has been increasing significantly for the past several years.  Consumer habits are changing as the internet allows individuals to make purchases online.  These advances in economic activity have led to increasing volumes of imports of small, just-in-time packages, creating inspection challenges for CBP.  E-Commerce shipments pose the same health, safety, and economic security risks as containerized shipments, but the volume is higher and continues to grow.  Additionally, transnational criminal organizations are shipping illicit goods to the United States via small packages due to a perceived lower interdiction risk and less severe consequences if the package is interdicted. 

E-allegations logo

Have you been affected by counterfeit goods?

Report counterfeiting using CBP’s E-Allegations link.

For more information about the dangers of counterfeiting and how to work with CBP, see our Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement webpage. Also, view CBP's 2017 IPR seizure statistics.


Countering Counterfeits



Downloadable images for the IPR Campaign - Fake Goods, Real Dangers

Last modified: 
October 24, 2019