(KERO) — Gifts that seem like a steal could be counterfeit.
Customs and Border Protection sees it everyday, knock offs that closely resemble the real thing but instead consumers are receiving products that are poor quality or are unsafe.
By air and sea, anything shipped to consumers must first pass through customs and border protection.
Officers review manifests and invoices.
If anything is off, that shipment is sent to a centralized exam station.
Officers seized more than 26,000 shipments of counterfeit goods last year valued at over $1.3 billion.
Manufacturers provide product guides and contacts to help officers identify the knock offs but Customs and Border Protection officer Shane Smith said counterfeiters are crafty.
They learn these tells then try to get around them.
Counterfeiters have become so sophisticated they’re able to replicate the exact same packaging even surpass certain security features like Airpods, you can feel they’re raised, one giveaway though: the serial number. They were the same on each package.
Officers also say when they listened to them, they could tell.
The quality just wasn’t there and if the counterfeits are this good, you may be wondering what’s the harm in saving a few bucks.
These items can retail for up to $2,000-4,000 in value and people sell them for $700 or even $200. But again you have to think about the livelihoods of the American people, the employees of these companies and we have to protect our economy and have consumer confidence in what we’re buying.
Smith added that sending money to counterfeiters could be funding illegal activities and cutting corners with safety regulations can cause harm to your health, home, or kids.
If it’s a choking hazard for a kid that’s an issue then it can be seized or destroyed and not allowed for import.
CBP has teamed up with the consumer product safety commission to identify hazardous toys and test for different metals and chemicals.
One swing seats recently flagged for unusually high lead content.
So kids could potentially be touching this, swinging on the swing and then touching their binkies or mouths and they could be ingesting harmful substances.
The top counterfeit products seized by CBP are handbags and wallets, clothes, footwear, wallets and jewelry, and electronics.
CBP is also warning consumers about counterfeit pharmaceuticals and have a seen a rise in counterfeit COVID tests, face masks, and COVID treatments.