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Customs Officers At Port Of New York Cracking Down On Counterfeit Goods

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- According to federal agents, counterfeit goods flood into the United States during the holidays.

And as CBS2's Kris Van Cleave reported, U.S. Customs officers are on a counterfeit crackdown, checking shipments arriving at the Port of New York for fakes.

The officers say the holiday shopping season brings a surge of counterfeit goods from overseas, including headphones, toys and sports jerseys.

But there are tests to spot a fake, and many times it's obvious.

Every shipment in one warehouse has been flagged for further inspection, including boxes filled with nothing but counterfeit shoes.

Plenty of knockoffs also get through and are usually sold on black market Internet sites and street corners.

Just this month, the Queens district attorney charged seven people after seizing more than $2 million in fake goods, including handbags.

Authorities say selling fake items not only costs U.S. businesses billions, but can also be dangerous for consumers.

Consumer Product Safety Commission investigators tested a shipment f toy soldiers and found 12 times the legal limit of lead, Van Cleave reported.

"(How often do you see things that are dangerous?) Every day or at least every couple of days, particularly now in the busy season approaching the holidays. We've been working pretty hard at stopping stuff at the port," said Mike Giella, compliance investigator with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Investigators say to avoid getting a fake, buy only at trusted stores and Internet sites, and always question super low prices.

"If the price is too good to be true it probably is," Giella said.

In a one-year period, customs officers at the Port of New York seized 58 shipments of counterfeit goods worth over $9 million.

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