Agencies team up to help consumers shop smart during the holidays.
WASHINGTON – As the holiday shopping season approaches, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is again teaming up with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to empower consumers to stay safe and shop smart by purchasing legitimate goods.
“As a parent and someone who loves the joy of holiday gift-giving, I understand the importance of ensuring the gifts we buy for loved ones are genuine. Counterfeit goods aren't just imitations; they can compromise your health and safety,” said John P. Leonard, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner for CBP's Office of Trade.
This year, CBP and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are collaborating again to broadcast an important message during the holiday shopping season. The “Shop Smart” campaign educates consumers about the risks associated with fake products and how to steer clear of fraudulent deals.
In Fiscal Year 2023, CBP seized more than 21 million counterfeit items , with a value of over $2.5 billion had they been genuine. Holiday favorites such as jewelry, footwear, handbags, wallets, wearing apparel, and consumer electronics top the list of the most seized counterfeit goods.
These items carry the risk of harming consumer health, safety, and security. Counterfeit electronics often have faulty power cords or semi-conductors that can catch fire. Beyond individual harm, the dangers of counterfeit goods can drain billions of dollars from the global economy, posing a serious threat to small businesses.
"Awareness is paramount in the fight against fakes, to protect consumers and small businesses alike," said Tom Quaadman, Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "This holiday season, business and law enforcement are partnering to help consumers shop smart and get what they pay for. We urge shoppers to follow our five tips for safe online shopping to give the gift of authenticity."
To help consumers navigate the season wisely, CBP and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urge everyone to follow these essential tips:
- Trust Your Instincts: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. So, if a deal or product seems off, it's best to keep away.
- Prioritize Secure Payments: When shopping online, only buy from sites that begin with https://. The ‘s’ stands for secure. Also, check for a lock symbol in your browser to confirm the site’s safety.
- Examine Every Detail: Pay close attention to labels, packaging, and contents. Watch out for out-of-date perishable items, broken or missing safety seals, false warranty claims, or unusual packaging.
- Protect Your Data: Keep all your devices, including computers and smartphones, updated with the latest cybersecurity protections to fend off any potential cyber threats.
- Say something: Spread awareness among your friends, family, and coworkers about counterfeit goods. If you encounter a fake good, report it to U.S. Customs and Border Protection or the National IPR Center.
Consumers can report suspected counterfeits via CBP’s e-Allegations Online Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
More information about CBP’s intellectual property rights enforcement is available at www.cbp.gov/trade and on @CBPTradeGov.