CINCINNATI — On April 30, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized two large shipments of fake merchandise that arrived at the Port of Cincinnati off a flight from China. One shipment contained 10,000 earbuds, and the second shipment held 1,386 items of fake Cartier and Hermes jewelry.
The earbuds were deemed in violation of CBP trademark and copyright codes by import specialists because of their configuration, which was identical to those of Apple Airpods. Apple has configuration trademarks on their brands and has recorded those trademarks with CBP. All of the counterfeit bracelets displayed the protected Cartier and Hermes trademarks. Had the Airpods or jewelry been real, they would have been worth $1,990,000 and $9,757,620 respectively, for a cumulative Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $11,747,620.
“Buying counterfeit goods damages our economy and your bank account,” said Richard Gillespie, Cincinnati Port Director. “Supporting counterfeiting enterprises also supports criminal activities such as money laundering and drug trafficking, and leaves the consumer with an inferior, if not dangerous, product. Our officers work hard every day to stop the flow of fake goods from entering U.S. commerce.”
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.
Recent seizures of counterfeit goods at the Port of Cincinnati include:
- $4.26 million of counterfeit jewelry bearing multiple protected trademarks.
- Nearly $3.6 million worth of counterfeit Cartier bracelets.
- 1,196 fake keys, fobs, and decals worth $103,101.
- Two shipments containing nearly $3.2 million counterfeit Cartier and Hermes jewelry.
CBP data indicates that handbags, wallets, wearing apparel, footwear, watches, jewelry, and consumer electronics are at higher risk of being counterfeited. Counterfeit versions of popular brands are regularly sold in online marketplaces and flea markets.
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.