CINCINNATI— Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 3 shipments containing counterfeit jewelry, most of which were Cartier bracelets. One shipment alone would have been worth over $8 million had the bracelets been genuine. With the cost of merchandise increasing, some third-party retailers exploit consumers who may be just trying to get a good deal. Consumers may not be aware of scammers selling fake items until it is too late. Officers in Cincinnati have stopped numerous shipments like these from entering the U.S. commerce to protect the pocketbooks of shoppers.
On September 6, officers intercepted a large shipment of counterfeit Cartier Love bracelets. A total of 700 bracelets were seized. Officers suspected these bracelets to be counterfeit based on their origin and appearance. The bracelets lacked fine details, were constructed from cheap material, and contained fake inlayed diamonds. This shipment originated in Hong Kong enroute to a business in Illinois. These high-end bracelets would have had Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $8.82 million had the items been authentic.
On the same night, officers were inspecting freight from China when they discovered two more shipments of counterfeit merchandise. The first shipment contained 60 Cartier bracelets and rings along with other brand name jewelry such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Bvlgari headed to a private residence in Colorado. The second shipment contained 4 Cartier Love bracelets, some with what appeared to be inlayed diamonds heading to a residence in New Jersey. These two shipments would have had a combined Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $1.96 million had the merchandise been genuine.
“While online shopping has increased, CBP stays vigilant by stopping illegal shipments like these from damaging our economy,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “Officers at the Port of Cincinnati are always on the lookout to uphold our mission of protecting the American borders from dangerous people and materials.”
All of the Jewelry was determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEEs), the agency’s trade experts.
Consumers can take these 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 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.
“Our mission is to keep our nation safe, and we do this well here at the Port of Cincinnati,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie, “We encourage legitimate trade and encourage shoppers to do your research to be aware of illegitimate businesses before making purchases online.”
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement is a Priority Trade Issue. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of American people.
If you have any information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please contact CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violations Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT -IPR violations can also be reported to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at https://www.iprcenter.gov/referral/ or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.