KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection urging consumers to be alert for counterfeit goods while shopping for Mother’s Day on May 9.

Photo via U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers

On Wednesday, April 21, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers at the port of Memphis, Tenn. inspected a shipment from The United Arab Emirates en route to Georgia, listed as gift bracelets and necklaces. Instead, officers found 550 pairs of counterfeit Chanel and Gucci earrings.

According to CBP, illicit manufacturers continue to exploit the rapid growth of e-commerce to sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers in the United States. The online listings utilize images of genuine products, leaving the consumer with no way to know if the product behind that listing is genuine.

CBP personnel intercept counterfeit goods bound for consumers and marketplaces throughout the United States every day. Recent CBP seizures include:

  • $4.26 million of counterfeit jewelry in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Nearly $636,000 of counterfeit designer handbags, jewelry, and accessories at the International Mail Facility in Chicago, Illinois.
  • $366,000 of counterfeit designer perfumes at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach. Counterfeit perfumes and cosmetics can contain harmful chemicals.
  • More than 500 counterfeit iPhones bound for Miami, Florida. Counterfeit electronics can pose serious fire hazards to consumers.

In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized more than 26,500 shipments containing counterfeit goods that would have been worth nearly $1.3 billion had they been genuine.

“Counterfeit goods are poor quality products that cost U.S. businesses billions of dollars a year while robbing our country of jobs and tax revenues,” said Benjamin Canfield, Assistant Area Port Director. “CBP Officers at the Area Port of Memphis remain committed to stopping counterfeit smuggling; helping to protect our communities, including moms receiving gifts, from these potentially hazardous knockoffs.”

CBP gives this advice to consumers concerned over counterfeit goods:

  • Purchase goods directly from the trademark holder or from authorized retailers.
  • When shopping online, read seller reviews and check for a working U.S. phone number and an address that can be used to contact the seller.
  • Review CBP’s E-Commerce Counterfeit Awareness Guide for Consumers.
  • Remember that if the price of a product seems too good to be true, it probably is.

CBP data show that handbags, wallets, apparel, footwear, watches, jewelry, and consumer electronics are at higher risk of being counterfeited.

To report suspected counterfeits, visit CBP’s e-Allegations portal or call 1-800-BE-ALERT.