MEMPHIS, Tennessee — On Thursday, September 30, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPOs) at the port of Memphis, TN selected for inspection a shipment from The United Arab Emirates en route to an apartment on the east side of Little Rock, Arkansas listed as “LADIES JEWELRY.” Inside the shipment CBPOs found 500 pairs of earrings that had the recorded trademarks of Chanel. This was the same shipper and consignee of a previous, nearly identical shipment just days before. The earrings were identified as counterfeit based on the low value claimed, incorrect appearance and low-quality construction, and shoddy packaging method. If these had been authentic, and sold for the manufacturers’ suggested retail price (MSRP), the value would have been $1,900,000.
Illicit manufacturers continue to exploit the rapid growth of e-commerce to sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers in the United States. In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized more than 26,500 shipments containing counterfeit goods that would have been worth nearly $1.3 billion had they been genuine.
CBP data indicates that handbags, wallets, apparel, footwear, watches, jewelry, and consumer electronics are at higher risk of being counterfeited. Counterfeit watches and jewelry make up almost half of the total MSRP of seized goods. Counterfeit versions of popular brands are regularly sold in online marketplaces and flea markets. Counterfeit goods hurt the U.S. economy, cost Americans their jobs, threaten consumer health and safety, and fund criminal activity. Visit the National IPR Coordination Center for more information about IPR including counterfeiting and piracy.
CBP personnel intercept counterfeit goods bound for consumers and marketplaces throughout the United States every day. Other CBP seizures include:
- Louisville seizes $67 million in counterfeit watches
- 86 Counterfeit Championship Rings Seized by Chicago CBP
- CBP Long Beach Foils Attempts to Smuggle Over $53 Million Worth of Fake Designer Products in two containerized shipments from China
In addition to posing potential health and safety hazards, counterfeit goods are often of inferior quality. Peeling labels, low-quality ink or printing errors on the packaging, and loosely packed items in the box can be signs that the product you purchased may not be legitimate. Counterfeit apparel and handbags may feature poor or uneven stitching and improperly sized or designed logos. The performance of counterfeit electronics is often marked by short battery life and regular overheating.
Consumers can take simple steps to protect themselves and their families from counterfeit goods:
- Purchase goods directly from the trademark holder or from authorized retailers.
- When shopping online, read seller reviews and check for a working U.S. phone number and an address that can be used to contact the seller.
- Review CBP’s E-Commerce Counterfeit Awareness Guide for Consumers.
- Remember that if the price of a product seems too good to be true, it probably is.
To report suspected counterfeits, visit CBP’s online e-Allegations portal or call 1-800-BE-ALERT. More information about counterfeit goods is available on CBP’s Fake Goods, Real Dangers website and StopFakes.gov.
B-roll of CBP cargo inspections is available here.