CBP officers and other personnel assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport intercepted a total of 13,586 counterfeit products, including fake designer bags and clothing items bearing logos resembling that of Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, YSL, and Louis Vuitton. The shipment was seized on Nov. 9.
The seized merchandise, if genuine, would have had a combined manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $30,437,775, according to the agency.
Counterfeit products are now being posted on “seemingly legitimate listings on well-known websites,” according to the CBP.
“Bad actors exploit e-commerce operations by selling counterfeit and unsafe goods through online platforms, particularly during the holiday season when shoppers are looking for deals,” Donald R. Kusser, port director of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, said in a statement. “If the price of the product seems too good to be true, it probably is. Counterfeit goods are often of poor quality and can even be unsafe for you and your family.”
The agency has advised the following steps for holiday shoppers to prevent unwitting purchases of counterfeit items:
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.
Counterfeit products are often of inferior quality, and signs suggesting that the product is fake include poor or uneven stitching, fragile fabrics, improperly sized or designed logos, peeling labels, low-quality ink, or printing errors on the packaging.
“Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of businesses, and, in some cases, national security, and the health and safety of consumers,” according to the CBP.
In fiscal year 2020, CBP officials across the United States seized 26,503 shipments containing counterfeit goods that would be estimated to be worth almost $1.3 billion if they were genuine.
In the same year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) officials arrested 203 individuals, obtained 125 indictments, and received 98 convictions related to intellectual property crimes.
China “remained the primary source economy for counterfeit and pirated goods seized,” according to the CBP. China accounted for a total estimated MSRP value of more than $660 million or about 50.5 percent of all seizures that violated intellectual property rights in fiscal year 2020 (pdf) in the United States.