CBP and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Alert Students, Parents, and Teachers About Counterfeit Products

The United States Chamber of Commerce and Border Patrol are working together to educate students, parents, and teachers about the dangers of counterfeit products and how to spot them due to back-to-school fraudulent sellers.

Back-to-school shopping is impacting many families. Individuals are looking for the best deals and the lowest prices to buy the supplies needed for a successful school year.

According to CBP and the US Chamber of Commerce, it’s important to understand that the lowest prices can sometimes affect a child’s health and safety.

Counterfeit criminals are preying on vulnerable shoppers this back-to-school season, and their tempting offers are dangers in disguise. They see it as an opportunity to profit and spread the sale of counterfeit products endangering individuals.

By August 2022, CBP had made nearly 17,000 seizures of counterfeit goods worth an estimated $2.4 billion, if the goods had been genuine. Seizures of these counterfeits included consumer electronics, shoes and clothing, to name a few.

“CBP is working closely with our industry partners to alert shoppers to the dangers associated with buying counterfeit products and how to be a conscious consumer,” said John Leonard, Deputy Executive Commissioner CBP Commerce Bureau Deputy. “While the lure of a bargain is tempting, the consequences are simply not worth the risk. Buy only from trusted sources, especially when shopping online.

Purchasing a substandard counterfeit product can save money in the short term, but when it breaks down quickly or becomes a safety hazard, the costs of replacing the product can increase dramatically.

Counterfeiters entice customers with compelling advertisements and low prices, but shoddy or potentially dangerous products and materials aren’t worth the risk, officials say. Fake backpacks, pencils and electronic devices threaten student safety and cost parents more over time.

Some of the tips and recommendations shared by the institutions to prevent the shop from counterfeit items are as follows.

• Trust your instincts: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

• Insist on secure transactions: Make sure your payments are submitted through websites that start with https:// (the “s” stands for secure) and look for a padlock symbol at the bottom of your browser.

• Watch for missing charges: Criminals who traffic in counterfeit goods often do not report their sales to financial authorities, so they omit sales tax and other charges. This often equates to a noticeable difference in the final price. Buyer beware.

• Look for quality assurance in the aftermarket: Reputable and reliable dealers have comprehensive inspection and authentication procedures and technicians to inspect the equipment they sell.

• Be careful when buying medicines online: more than 96% of online pharmacies do not meet safety standards or legal standards. To find an accredited digital pharmacy, check with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

• Be vigilant when shopping abroad: When shopping on international websites, look for trusted vendors that use identifiable privacy safeguards and have reasonable return policies.

• Protect your personal information: Illegal websites often install malicious software that can steal your credit card information and other information stored on your computer.

• Examine labels, packaging and contents carefully: look for missing or expired dates on perishable products, broken or missing security seals, false warranty information or other unusual packaging.

• Report counterfeit products: Report dangerous counterfeit products to US Customs and Protective Services or the National IPR Center.

• Spread the word: Share these counterfeit tips with family, friends and co-workers.

Buying a counterfeit product can save money in the short term, but when it breaks down, you will spend twice or more to replace the product or mitigate health damage.

For example, counterfeit headphones or earbuds can break down, or worse, and expose your child to toxic chemicals. Fake clothes can only last one wash before becoming unwearable.

Prevent these dangers and protect your family.

For more information on what you can do to shop smart for back to school, visit The Truth Behind Counterfeits | US Customs and Border Protection (cbp.gov), Awareness of Counterfeits in E-Commerce (cbp.gov) and www.USChamber.com/shopsmart

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