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Counterfeiters Cash In On Unsuspecting Shoppers Looking For Holiday Deals

KEARNY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- This holiday season, counterfeiters are trying to cash in on unsuspecting shoppers.

As CBS2's Kris Van Cleave reported, a warehouse in Kearny is filled with fake toys, purses, and sports gear that's been confiscated by the feds.

It's the front line in the battle against counterfeit goods that customs officers are seizing. One shipping container from China was loaded with thousands of pairs of what look like designer Ugg boots.

Last year, seizures jumped by 25 percent, with almost half coming from mainland China, and 34 percent coming from Hong Kong.

Clothing, electronics, shoes, jewelry, watches, and purses are counterfeiters' favorites, and this time of year so are toys.

"Whatever's popular this season, that's what they're gonna try to get in," U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Deputy Chief Officer Scott Rutledge said.

There were fake North Face and sports jersey, and another favorite of counterfeiters, Louis Vuitton bags.

"You have to be cautious of who you are buying this from. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is," Rutledge said.

Officers said there's so much money in counterfeit goods that it can be compared to drug trafficking with the street value of a container of fake Uggs likely in the millions.

"It goes to criminal organizations, and some of the proceeds have been linked back to the funding of terrorist organizations," Rutledge said.

Over the past decade Interpol has traced the profits from fake merchandise back to several terror groups including Al Qaeda.

So far this year customs has seized more than a billion dollars in counterfeit goods, and that's just in the New York area.


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