Washington – At the official start of the holiday shopping season, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced the establishment of the E-Commerce and Small Business Branch within the agency’s Office of Trade. Worldwide e-commerce sales are expected to reach over $4 trillion by 2020 - the branch will work to address the various complexities resulting from this new global shift.
“The new branch demonstrates CBP’s commitment to support small and microbusinesses while addressing the challenges posed by this dynamic trading environment, ”said Office of Trade Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith.
CBP is committed to ensuring the safe and legitimate flow of trade, while at the same time identifying and preventing inferior and unsafe merchandise from entering into the global commerce. As the holiday shopping season approaches and as Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday sales spike, CBP warns consumers that the benefits afforded by online platforms also elevate the risk and opportunity for criminal trade.
Consumers should be cautious of holiday shopping scams designed to deceive them into purchasing counterfeit or unsafe goods. CBP reminds the public to beware of goods with prices that are too good to be true, websites that do not provide legitimate phones numbers or addresses, and sellers that do not have good customer feedback.
If you have any suspicion of or information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please contact CBP at the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.