When it comes to stopping counterfeit goods from entering the country, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has plenty of time.
CBP officers in Louisville, Ky., caught four shipments of phony Rolex watches shipped from Hong Kong on Tuesday. Each shipment contained 320 fakes – 1,280 total – which authorities estimated would have been worth a total $25.2 million at retail prices if they’d been the real deal.
The shipments had been bound for Salt Lake City, Utah, before CBP officers inspected them, finding they were mis-manifested. An import specialist determined they were bogus, and CBP seized the watches.
Thomas Mahn, port director for Louisville, said it’s important for shoppers to know who they’re buying from while purchasing gifts for friends and family.
“During this holiday season, consumers are always looking for the best deal, the unfortunate part is criminals are also online pedaling their counterfeit products,” Mahn said in a press release.
Watches and jewelry are the most commonly counterfeited goods, according to CBP. Apparel and accessories, handbags, wallets, footwear and consumer electronics are also commonly counterfeited.
Fake goods can weaken the economy by taking money that would have otherwise gone to legitimate companies, reducing profits and potentially costing jobs over time, according to CBP. Some cheaply made counterfeits can even post health risks, especially when counterfeiters make phony personal care products, electronics and pharmaceuticals.
CBP regularly seizes counterfeit goods from all over the world. Last year, it caught 27,000 shipments of fake items that would have been worth a combined $1.5 billion of they’d been legitimate.
“Our CBP officers will continue to seize counterfeit items that threaten the safety and health of consumers and weaken the U.S. economy,” Mahn said.