JACKSON, Miss. (NewsNation) — Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Mississippi confiscated a package containing 250 counterfeit Chanel brooches.
Agents intercepted the shipment from China during routine inspections near the end of March at the Vicksburg/Jackson port. The jewelry bore the “CC” Chanel trademark. If genuine, CBP says the brooches would be worth $162,500.
So far during the second quarter of this fiscal year, the Mississippi port has seized more than 70 shipments that violate intellectual property rights, worth $998,889. On a national scale, CBP has seized more than 20,000 shipments holding counterfeit goods this fiscal year that would have been worth more than $1.3 billion.
Investigators say most of the packages contained counterfeit shoes, designer knock-offs of handbags and jewelry.
So, what items are at higher risk of being counterfeited? According to CBP data, it’s handbags, wallets, clothing, shoes, watches, jewelry and electronics. Counterfeit watches and jewelry make up nearly half of those confiscated goods.
“People often make the mistake of believing that purchasing counterfeit items is a victimless crime,” said Acting Assistant Director of Field Operations Miguel Garza. “However, these items often fund transnational criminal organizations, and cost taxpayers billions.”
What ways can shoppers protect themselves from buying fakes?
The CBP issued the following advice:
-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.