Just in time for the holidays, the team at The Department of Homeland Security has released a Consumer Shopping Guide to assist consumers across the country in their holiday shopping efforts.
Every year, the United States government seizes millions of counterfeit goods from countries around the world as part of its mission to protect U.S. businesses and preserve consumers’ safety and health. Organized crime groups steal billions of dollars a year from unsuspecting American businesses and consumers, while draining tax revenue and destroying legitimate businesses. Through organized retail crime groups focused on selling stolen merchandise to unsuspecting customers online, these criminal enterprises are relentless in their pursuit.
The Numbers Tell the Story
In 2021, Customs and Border Protection seized approximately 2,651 shipments of counterfeit goods with an estimated value of more than $822 million. Commercial fraud and intellectual property enforcement efforts led to nearly 400 criminal arrests, 155 indictments and 100 convictions.
This year, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) has introduced a Consumer Shopping Guide to help consumers protect themselves from substandard or even hazardous counterfeit toys, electronics, cosmetics, and other popular products, as well as providing consumers with useful health and safety tips. The IPR Center leads the U.S. government’s response to stop substandard products from reaching the marketplace. It works with industries and agencies to stop the distribution of illicit goods that threaten U.S. businesses, robs hardworking Americans of their jobs and negatively impacts the economy.
The Consumer Shopping Toolkit
The Consumer Shopping Toolkit includes online shopping best practices, ways to protect financial and banking information, educational videos and infographics and general information on how to spot fake merchandise. This would include:
• Holiday and Sale Shopping Safety Tips
• Top Counterfeit Products Currently Being Sold
• Current Trends Impacting Shopping Safety
• Investigative Efforts in the Fight Against Organized Retail Crime
• Partners and Resources to Assist in These Efforts
• Crime Statistics
• Shopping “Dos and Don’ts”
To learn more and download this helpful shopping guide, simply visit The Consumer Shopping Guide at the Department of Homeland Security Website for more information.