United States Customs and Border Protection warned consumers of scammers selling counterfeit designer products ahead of Mother's Day. According to the agency, handbags, wallets, apparel, footwear and jewelry are among items at the highest risk of being counterfeited.
"Still haven't decided what to get mom for Mother's Day? Don't just pick the first internet search because you may be ordering knockoff earrings," CBP Chicago tweeted.
The warning comes as CBP officials continue to discover counterfeit products arriving in the U.S. from overseas. On April 25, customs officers seized two large shipments containing 65 fake handbags that arrived on flights from China and the Philippines. The purses included brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Christian Dior, Hermes and Goyard, and were on their way to residents in California.
Import specialists determined the handbags violated CBP's trademark and copyright codes due to their quality and packaging. If they were real, the purses would have had an estimated retail price of $166,045, according to CBP.
Earlier on April 4, officials seized a shipment from the Philippines with two large Hermes tea sets on their way to a resident in Texas. Based on the sets' appearance and packaging, import specialists deemed the items counterfeit. They would have had an estimated value of $4,000 had they been real.
On May 2, customs officers in Louisville announced a seizure of a shipment of fake Gucci purses worth an estimated $702,000 had they been real. And on May 6, Louisville officials seized 2,038 Chanel earrings that would have been worth an estimated $509,000 were they authentic.
Ahead of Mother's Day, when consumers are expected to spend a total of $31.7 billion on gifts, officials recommended consumers pay close attention to the quality of items purchased and buy goods directly from trademark holders or from authorized retailers.
CBP warned that counterfeit products have a negative impact on the U.S. economy, can be unsafe for consumers and may support scammers' criminal enterprises such as human trafficking and money laundering.
"Play it safe and buy mom the real deal for her special day," CBP said.
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