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

Mother’s Day is upon us, and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is urging consumers to buy their Mother’s Day gifts from legitimate retailers to avoid being ripped off by illegitimate manufacturers.

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

Fake Cartier Jewelry (Photos by US Customs)

The handbags were found to be in violation of CBP’s trademark and copyright codes by CBP import specialists due to the quality and packaging of the handbags. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Christian Dior, Hermès and Goyard all have trademarks on their marks and have registered those marks with the CBP. If the bags had been real, they would have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $166,045.

On April 4, CBP officers seized a shipment containing two large Hermès tea sets. The tea sets are from the Philippines en route to a resident of Mission, Texas. The tea sets were found to be counterfeit by CBP import specialists due to the appearance of the tea sets and the 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 a few examples of the work our officers are doing to protect consumers and the American economy,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “As consumers increasingly buy from online or third-party vendors, our agents are on the front lines of guarding against fraudsters who hope to make money selling counterfeit goods.”

As e-commerce continues to grow at a rapid rate, CBP officers are determined to secure our nation’s borders and protect the US economy from illicit manufacturers. In fiscal year 2021, CBP officers in Cincinnati seized 2,060 shipments containing counterfeit products that would have been worth more than $146,000,000 if they had been genuine.

“Counterfeit goods have a negative impact on the American economy,” said Richard Gillespie, Port of Cincinnati Director. “Scammers use counterfeit profits to fund and support their criminal enterprises such as human trafficking and money laundering. Our officers do an excellent job of preventing 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, clothing, shoes, watches, jewelry and consumer electronics are at a higher risk of being counterfeited. Counterfeit versions of popular brands are regularly sold in online marketplaces and flea markets.

The quality of goods that agents ban in Cincinnati are inferior to the original quality sold by legitimate manufacturers. Purchasing low-quality products from third-party sellers online is dangerous and exposes buyers to security risks. CBP suggests paying close attention to the quality of items purchased and looking for printing errors, cheap packaging, poor quality materials used, and below-average prices. These are all signs that the items purchased could be fake.

Consumers can take simple steps to protect themselves and their families from counterfeit products:

• Purchase products directly from the brand owner or from authorized resellers.
• When shopping online, read seller reviews and look for a working US phone number and address that can be used to contact the seller.
• Consult CBP’s E-Commerce Counterfeit Awareness Guide for Consumers.
• Remember, if a product’s price 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 infringements, visit CBP’s e-Allegations online portal or call 1-800-BE-ALERT. More information on counterfeit products is available at CBP Fake Goods, Real Dangers Website and StopFakes.gov.

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