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This Mother’s Day – Be Alert for Counterfeit Goods Sold Online

Release Date: 
May 3, 2021
IPR CBP Officer
Illicit manufacturers continue to exploit the
rapid growth of e-commerce to sell counterfeit goods
to unsuspecting consumers in the United States.

LOS ANGELES— U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding consumers to be alert for counterfeit goods while shopping for Mother’s Day on May 9. 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 nationwide containing counterfeit goods that would have been worth nearly $1.3 billion had they been genuine.

“Counterfeit products pose criminal, financial, and consumer safety risks for the United States and its citizens,” said Carlos C. Martel CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “The purchase of counterfeit goods often supports the funding of criminal enterprises and activity, such as money laundering, smuggling, and trafficking in illegal guns and drugs.”

LV Purse
In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized more than 26,500
shipments nationwide containing counterfeit goods
that would have been worth nearly $1.3 billion
had they been genuine.

CBP personnel intercept counterfeit goods bound for consumers and marketplaces throughout the United States every day. Recent CBP seizures include:

  • $366,000 of counterfeit designer perfumes at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach. Counterfeit perfumes and cosmetics can contain harmful chemicals.
  • $4.26 million of counterfeit jewelry in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Nearly $636,000 of counterfeit designer handbags, jewelry, and accessories at the International Mail Facility in Chicago, Illinois.
  • More than 500 counterfeit iPhones bound for Miami, Florida. Counterfeit electronics can pose serious fire hazards to consumers.

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.

LV Sandals
In addition to posing potential health and safety
hazards, counterfeit goods are often of inferior quality.

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. Photos of counterfeit goods seized by CBP can be found here.

Last modified: 
May 3, 2021