On January 31, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at an Express Consignment Operations (ECO) hub near O’Hare seized a shipment that was arriving from Israel containing over $713,000 worth of counterfeit Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Versace bracelets, rings, and necklaces.
During the month of January, Chicago CBP averaged at least one shipment a day of counterfeit goods. Officers at the ECO and Chicago’s International Mail Facility (IMF) seized a total of 29 shipments worth a staggering $2.88 million. Officers found everything from counterfeit shoes, wallets, designer apparel, handbags, jewelry, and more.
“These are significant seizures for CBP, but unfortunately, CBP officers see counterfeit shipments like this every day,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago. “I’m extremely proud of these officers’ determination in stopping illicit shipments, and our commitment to protecting the American economy.”
All these counterfeit shipments were arriving from various countries: China, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Russia, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, and Israel. Jewelry, which includes rings necklaces, bracelets, and watches, was the most common item that was found. Counterfeit designer handbags and apparel were also prevalent in these shipments. The shipments were heading to various cities throughout the U.S., to include the local cities of Joliet, Lake in the Hills, and Chicago.
“This is just another example of the work our officers do to protects consumers and the U.S. economy,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director-Chicago. “Our officers are at the frontline protecting the U.S. economy and guarding against charlatans making money by selling fake merchandise.”
The rapid growth of e-commerce enables consumers to search for and easily purchase millions of products through online vendors, but this easy access gives counterfeit and pirated goods more ways to enter the U.S. economy. U.S. consumers spend more than $100 billion every year on intellectual property rights (IPR) infringing goods, falling victim to approximately 20% of the counterfeits that are illegally sold worldwide.
Counterfeit commodities fund smugglers and members of organized crime. Consumers often believe they are buying a genuine product but soon realize the item is substandard.
CBP Trade protects the intellectual property rights of American businesses through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program, safeguarding them from unfair competition and use for malicious intent while upholding American innovation and ingenuity. Suspected violations can be reported to CBP here.
Every year, CBP seizes millions of counterfeit goods from countries around the world as part of its mission to protect U.S. businesses and consumers. These goods include fake versions of popular products, such as smartphones and related accessories, electronics, apparel, shoes, cosmetics, and high-end luxury goods, as well as goods posing significant health and safety concerns, such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals, bicycle and motorcycle helmets, medical devices, supplements and other consumables. Sold online and in stores, counterfeit goods hurt the U.S. economy, cost Americans their jobs, threaten consumer health and safety, and fund criminal activity. Visit the National IPR Coordination Center for more information about IPR including counterfeiting and piracy.
CBP has established an educational initiative, Truth Behind Counterfeits, to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. The agency encourages anyone with information about counterfeit merchandise illegally imported into the United States to submit an e-Allegation. The e-Allegation system provides a means for the public to anonymously report to CBP any suspected violations of trade laws or regulations related to the importation of goods in the U.S.