In a co-hosted media event, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in New York highlighted the dangers of buying counterfeit goods and educated consumers on how they can protect themselves.
The Dangers of Counterfeit Products
CBP spoke about how the department is dedicated to protecting the country while enabling legal trade and travel. This includes being on the lookout for unsafe products. In partnership with HSI, other U.S. agencies and foreign governments, they monitor international trade and intercept dangerous illegal goods. There are considerable public risks that come with the purchase of fake goods, which are especially plentiful around the holiday season. As they point out, low prices can come at a high cost.
They warned about the potential health hazards of illicit goods, from tainted personal care items to faulty electronic equipment. They also point out that when a consumer makes a purchase from a shady website, their personal information and financial data may also be at risk, and they may be handing over sensitive information like credit card numbers to criminals. As Marina Vides, HSI New York’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge, says, “If a deal seems too good to be true, it very likely is.”
Protecting the Public from Counterfeits
A vital purpose of the HSI and its global partners is to protect consumers from criminals seeking to exploit legal markets with dangerous, substandard products. HSI and CBP protect the public and businesses daily through IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) enforcement, which is considered a CBP Priority Trade Issue.
In FY 2021 alone, CBP seized more than 27,000 counterfeit product shipments which had a value of more than $3.3 billion if they had been genuine goods. Intellectual property theft and the sale of substandard merchandise threaten the nation’s economy and suppress innovation. Fake products are also a danger to the public’s health and safety. Additionally, these illegal activities fund criminal enterprises and help to support global organized crime syndicates.
CBP’s The Truth Behind Counterfeits educational campaign raises public awareness about the safety and health, economic and legal consequences of buying counterfeit products.