Submitted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is joining forces to educate students, parents and teachers about the dangers of counterfeit goods and how to spot them, just in time as kids prepare to go back to school. This joint effort highlights the impacts counterfeit goods have on the economy, as well as the health and safety of consumers, and includes 10 tips to “Shop Smart” for back-to-school basics.
As millions of American students return to the classroom, August is a busy time for parents and educators to stock up on everything they need for a successful school year. Unfortunately, it is also a busy time for scammers looking to cash in by selling fake and potentially dangerous counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers. As of August 2022, CBP has made almost 17,000 seizures of counterfeit goods worth an estimated $2.4 billion, had the goods been genuine. Seizures of these fake goods included consumer electronics, footwear, and wearing apparel, to name a few.
“CBP works closely with our industry partners to alert shoppers to the dangers associated with the purchase of counterfeit goods and how to be a conscientious consumer,” said Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner for CBP’s Office of Trade John Leonard. “While the lure of a great deal is tempting, the consequences simply aren’t worth the risk. Only shop from sources you trust, especially when shopping online.”
Buying a substandard, fake good may save money in the short term, but when it breaks down quickly or becomes a safety hazard, costs to replace the product could increase substantially. Counterfeiters lure customers with convincing advertisements and low prices, but shoddy or potentially harmful products and materials are not worth the risk. Fake backpacks, pencils and electronics threaten students’ safety and cost parents more money over time.
Leaders across the business community understand the dangers of counterfeits and are making big investments and taking bold actions to protect customers. For example, Nike Inc. donated proprietary technology to CBP via its donations acceptance program to aid in authenticating a variety of its merchandise and prevent counterfeit products from entering the United States. However, businesses and CBP cannot do it alone. Counterfeit products cost the global economy over $500 billion a year. That is why the Chamber of Commerce is partnering with CBP to raise awareness nationwide to educate Americans about the dangers of counterfeits.
“Fake goods are a danger to American families, particularly children who are about to start another school year,” said Kasie Brill, vice president for brand protection at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center. “The U.S. Chamber encourages parents to use our 10 tips to ‘Shop Smart’ to protect their families from the dangers of counterfeit items.”
To get the word out, CBP and the Chamber of Commerce are taking to the airwaves in a nationwide campaign to educate back-to-school shoppers on the dangers of counterfeit goods.
For more information about what you can do to shop smart for the back-to-school shopping season, visit The Truth Behind Counterfeits | U.S. Customs and Border Protection (cbp.gov), Awareness of Counterfeits in E-Commerce (cbp.gov), and www.USChamber.com/shopsmart.
Follow CBP Office of Trade on Twitter @CBPTradeGov.