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  3. The Truth Behind Counterfeits

The Truth Behind Counterfeits

The dangers of buying counterfeit products aren’t always obvious. There are economic impacts, legal implications, and health and safety risks that are important for you to know before you buy. Particularly, when shopping online, beware of counterfeit goods. Fake goods can lead to real dangers.

Image displaying IPR impacts - Economic Impacts, Health & Safety, and Legal Implications


Economic Impacts

Each time you buy a counterfeit good, a legitimate company loses revenue. This translates to lost profits and the loss of U.S. jobs over time. Moreover, you work hard for your money and by buying from reputable sources, you help to guarantee that you are getting what you paid for. Know who you buy from.

World Map: Fiscal Year 2023 IPR Seizures Statistics by Number of Seizure Lines. China: 65.9%; Hong Kong: 17.7%; Turkey: 1.6%; Philippines: 2.1%; Thailand: 2.1%; All Other Countries: 10.6%. FY 2023 Totals Number of Seizure Lines: 102,712. MSRP: over $2.7 Billion.

Health and Safety

Many counterfeit products are low-quality and can cause injuries. Protect yourself and your family by avoiding potentially risky items.


Top Health & Safety Products Seized in FY2022. 67.2% Pharmaceuticals; 14% Consumer Electronics; 5.5% Automotive/Aerospace; 3.5% Computers/Accessories; .9% Sporting Goods; .6% Food; .6% Wearing Apparel/Accessories; .3% Cigarettes; 2.6% All Other Products. Total Number of Health/Safety Seizure Lines: 5,422. MSRP Value of Health/Safety Seizures: $165,205,890

Legal Implications

It is illegal to purchase counterfeit goods. Bringing them into the United States may result in civil or criminal penalties and purchasing counterfeit goods often supports criminal activities, such as forced labor or human trafficking. Help to stop the funding of criminal enterprises by buying authentic goods.


E-Commerce sales have contributed to large volumes of low-value, small packages being imported into the United States. Over 90 percent of all counterfeit seizures occur in the international mail and express environments which are channels that small, e-commerce packages destined for U.S. addresses travel through. Many of these shipments contain counterfeit goods that pose the same health, safety, and economic security risks as large, containerized shipments. Make sure to shop from reputable sources online. To learn more about CBP’s E-Commerce strategy, visit CBP’s E-Commerce website.

Seizures by mode of transport; 10,306 express; 7,011 mail; 1821 cargo; 586 all others
Last Modified: May 31, 2024