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CBP Cautions E-Commerce Buyers

Release Date: 
May 4, 2018

Tucson, Ariz. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport want to alert consumers that there are of fraud artists ready to sell counterfeit goods in place of the genuine product.

"Consumers are being deceived into buying products believing they are authentic," said Luz Galarza, CBP Port Director of Field Operations, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. “We strongly encourage buyers to be aware and use caution when making online purchases."

Counterfeit and pirated products threaten our economic security in the U.S. and undermine legitimate businesses who invest significant amounts of resources into manufacturing safe, quality products. Even worse, the counterfeit products often pose serious health and safety hazards to the people who buy and use them.

Counterfeit electronics or mobile devices can overheat due to improper manufacturing processes, and fake footwear or apparel can fall apart. Phony cosmetics may lead to skin ailments, and even seasonal holiday lights can be poorly made, resulting in fires.

There are steps shoppers can take to protect themselves year-round. Exercise caution when buying merchandise through social media platforms. Avoid clicking on suspicious advertisements either emailed directly or found while searching the Internet.

Key signs that a website may be pushing counterfeit goods include:

  • All the products listed are on sale or offered at extremely low prices.
  • The website does not have proper contact information.
  • The product is not shipping from within the United States.
  • The buyer is redirected to an external online payment system during checkout.

CBP officers play a vital role in stopping the flow of counterfeit goods and are stationed at international mail facilities located throughout the country in major cities. CBP is responsible for screening arriving international mail and are on the lookout for any type of contraband, counterfeit or prohibited items being shipped to the U.S. that can harm the community or take advantage of the unsuspecting buyer.

Facilitating lawful trade and protecting the U.S. economy is an important part of CBPs mission. If you have information about counterfeit merchandise being illegally imported into the United States, CBP encourages you to submit an E-Allegation. The e-Allegation provides a means for the public to anonymously report to CBP any suspected violations of trade laws or regulations related to the importation of goods into the U.S. Submit your trade allegation by visiting e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System.

Last modified: 
May 4, 2018