A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Customs patrols seize shipments of fake jewelry, handbags; buy Mom’s gifts from legitimate retailers

Mother’s Day is upon us, and U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) urges consumers to purchase their Mother’s Day gifts from legitimate retailers to avoid being scammed by illegitimate manufacturers.

On April 25, CBP officers seized two large shipments of fake handbags that arrived on two separate fights from China and the Philippines. The shipments contained 65 counterfeit purses combined including all high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Christian Dior, Hermes, and Goyard. The purses were enroute to separate residents in California.

Fake Cartier jewelry (Photos by U.S. Customs)

The handbags were deemed in violation of CBP trademark and copyright codes by CBP import specialists because of the quality and packaging of the handbags. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Christian Dior, Hermes, and Goyard all have trademarks on their brands and has recorded those trademarks with CBP. Had the bags been real, they would have a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $166,045.

On April 4, CBP officers seized a shipment that contained two large Hermes tea sets. The tea sets originated in the Philippines enroute to a resident in Mission, Texas. The tea sets were deemed counterfeit by CBP import specialists based on the appearance of the tea sets and packaging. These high-end tea sets would have had a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $4,000.00 had the sets been the real deal.

“These are just some examples of the work our officers do to protect consumers and the U.S. economy,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “As consumers increasingly purchase from online or third-party vendors, our officers are at the frontline to guard against defrauders expecting to make money selling fake merchandise.”

As e-commerce continues to grow at a rapid pace, CBP officers are steadfast in securing our nation’s borders and protect the US economy from illicit manufacturers. In Fiscal Year 2021, Cincinnati CBP officers seized 2,060 shipments containing counterfeit goods that would have been worth over $146,000,000 had they been genuine.

“Counterfeit goods have a negative impact on the U.S. economy,” said Richard Gillespie, Cincinnati Port Director. “Scammers use their profits from counterfeit merchandise to fund and support their criminal enterprises such as human trafficking and money laundering. Our officers do a great job stopping these illicit shipments from entering our economy.”

Seizures of counterfeit goods in Cincinnati in April include:

• Counterfeit Cartier Love bracelet valued at $47,000.
• $13,870 worth of counterfeit Christian Dior sandals.
• 20 fake handbags and purses worth $41,875.
• Shipment of 190 Oakley sunglasses valued at $29,000.

CBP data indicates that handbags, wallets, apparel, footwear, watches, jewelry, and consumer electronics are at higher risk of being counterfeited. Counterfeit versions of popular brands are regularly sold in online marketplaces and flea markets.

The quality of merchandise that officers interdict in Cincinnati are inferior to the original quality sold by legitimate manufacturers. Purchasing low quality goods from online third-party sellers is dangerous and puts buyers at risk of safety hazards. CBP suggests paying close attention to the quality of the items purchased and look for misprints, cheap packaging, low quality materials used, and lower than average pricing. These are all signs that the items being purchased could be fake.

Consumers can take 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 an 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.
• Play it safe and buy mom the real deal for her special day.

To report suspected counterfeits, visit CBP’s online e-Allegations portal or call 1-800-BE-ALERT. More information about counterfeit goods is available on CBP’s Fake Goods, Real Dangers website and StopFakes.gov.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment