Federal officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently seized 10,000 counterfeit dolls in Puerto Rico after the toys arrived in a shipment from China. Officers had originally decided to inspect the shipment because it did not appear to be compliant with standards set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Upon further examination, specialists determined that the dolls were in fact counterfeit goods.
The CBP estimates the value of the shipment to be more than $41,000. “This high-value seizure is one of many successes marking CBP’s longstanding commitment to combating importation of illicit merchandise bearing counterfeit trademarks in San Juan,” said Edward Ryan, assistant director of field operations for trade in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in a press release. “Our CBP officers and import specialists are committed to preventing counterfeit goods from entering the commerce of the United States.”
Counterfeit consumer goods are often low-quality versions of well-known, branded products. Examples can include clothing, accessories, toys, electronics, and even medicines. Like other types of retail fraud, the purchase of fake goods takes business away from legitimate companies and may even help fund organized retail crime. In 2007, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimated that internationally traded counterfeit goods cost the global economy nearly $250 billion per year.
Consumers can look for certain warning signs that can help them avoid purchasing counterfeit goods:
• Check the spelling and grammar of the packaging or website. Fraudsters are notorious for making errors when it comes to these details, and they may intentionally change the spelling of a web address to deceive consumers.
• Seek out reputable and authorized retail channels. Ask the seller about the source of the product if you’re not sure whether they are a trustworthy vendor.
• Trust your instincts. If a deal seems like it is too good to be true, it probably is.
Image Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection