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  4. Nearly 4,000 Fraudulent Refrigerator Water Filters Seized by CBP at LA/LB Seaport

Nearly 4,000 Fraudulent Refrigerator Water Filters Seized by CBP at LA/LB Seaport

Release Date
Wed, 05/24/2023
Los Angeles

The Water Filters infringed NSF Certification Protected Trademarks

Water Filters 1
CBP at the LA/LB Seaport seized 3,940 fraudulent and potentially unsafe refrigerator water filters.

LOS ANGELES— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, in coordination with Import Specialists assigned to the Machinery Center of Excellence and Expertise (Machinery Center), seized 3,940 water filters bearing counterfeit National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) logos printed on the products. If genuine, the seized filters would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $149,681. 

CBP officers discovered the filters while conducting an examination of a mixed ocean freight arriving from China. The items were seized on April 10, after Machinery Center Import Specialists confirmed that the filters bore unauthorized NSF certification marks that had been recorded for border enforcement through CBP’s e-Recordation program.

“Consumers buying water filters on e-commerce sites should be aware that is extremely difficult to spot those containing fraudulent copied certifications,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “We are advising consumers to protect their families by ensuring they are purchasing these products from legitimate sources only.”

NSF International is an accredited, third-party certification body, which tests and evaluates products to public health and safety standards. Products certified by NSF must be  tested, evaluated and determined to comply with specific standards, policies and procedures before they are authorized to bear the NSF certification mark..

Water Filters 2
The water filters looked legitimate. It is extremely difficult to spot those containing fraudulent copied certifications. 

According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), counterfeit refrigerator water filters pose a serious risk to consumer health and safety. The use of fraudulently copied trademarks, branding and misleading claims make the filters look legitimate; and while the water may look, smell or taste fine, the counterfeit filters that were tested show that they fail to remove lead and other dangerous chemicals from water.

“CBP at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport commits substantial resources to detect, intercept, seize, and destroy fraudulent and potentially hazardous household products,” said Susan S. Thomas, CBP Acting Port Director of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport. “Protecting the health and safety of the American consumer is one of our top priorities.”

Water Filters 3
If genuine, the seized filters would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $149,681. 

Since February 2021 to date, CBP at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport has seized 67,342 counterfeit replacement refrigerator water filters, under sink ion exchange filters, pool and spa filters, and water bottle filters with a combined MSRP of $3,216,900.

CBP officers in coordination with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents assigned at the Trade Enforcement Coordination Center (TECC) worked closely to identify potential violators responsible for the importations of these water filters.

Nationwide in fiscal year (FY) 2022, CBP seized nearly 21, 000 shipments containing 25 million individual goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated MSRP value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was nearly $3 billion.

 CBP has established an educational initiative at U.S. airports and online to raise consumer awareness and conscientiousness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods.  Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign is available at

If you have any suspicion of or information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please report the trade violation to e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting. System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT. 

 Report intellectual property rights (IPR) violations to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.

Learn about the risks of buying counterfeit water filters by visiting the Filter It Out campaign web site:

To learn more about NSF certification visit

Last Modified: May 24, 2023