CBP and US Chamber of Commerce’s Shop Smart Campaign

CBP and US Chamber of Commerce’s Shop Smart Campaign

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and, unfortunately, increased risks associated with counterfeit goods. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday lure shoppers with enticing deals, the shadow of counterfeit products threatens to spoil the festive cheer. The global trade of fake goods exceeds a staggering $500 billion annually, impacting jobs and economies worldwide. In a remarkable seizure in 2022, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents intercepted a record $1 billion in counterfeit goods in California, highlighting the scale of the challenge at hand.

The repercussions of counterfeit trade are not confined to economic losses. A significant portion of these goods finds its way into the hands of unsuspecting consumers, with nearly 70% of people unknowingly purchasing counterfeit items online in the last year alone. 

Counterfeit products are a recipe for disaster, compromising not only quality but, more importantly, safety. These items are typically made with inferior materials and lack the rigorous testing that genuine products undergo. Disturbingly, counterfeit versions of popular holiday gifts have been found to contain hidden dangers, from undisclosed choking hazards to lead paint, and high levels of hazardous substances like mercury and arsenic.

In the face of this looming threat, it is crucial for consumers to arm themselves with knowledge and adopt a “Shop Smart” approach. The US Chamber of Commerce’s Shop Smart campaign provides five essential tips to navigate the holiday shopping landscape:

  • Trust Your Instincts: If a deal or product seems too good to be true, it probably is. Exercise caution and stay away from suspicious offers.
  • Prioritize Secure Payments: Only make online purchases from sites with “https://” in the URL, indicating a secure connection. Look for a lock symbol in your browser to confirm the site’s safety.
  • Examine Every Detail: Pay close attention to labels, packaging, and contents. Be wary of signs like out-of-date perishable items, broken safety seals, missing warranty information, or unusual packaging.
  • Protect Your Data: Keep all devices updated with the latest cybersecurity protections. Stay vigilant against suspicious websites that may harbor harmful software.
  • Say Something: Spread awareness about counterfeit goods and report any encounters with fake products to CBP or the National Intellectual Property Rights Center. ( U.S. Customs and Border Protection or the National IPR Center) Your actions contribute to safer and smarter shopping for everyone. 

The scope of the counterfeit goods problem is immense, with international trade in such items reaching $509 billion in 2016. Seizures by CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have surged from 3,244 in 2000 to 27,599 in 2019, underscoring the scale of the challenge. Globally, counterfeiting has resulted in the loss of over 2.5 million jobs and more than 60 billion euros in tax revenue among G20 economies.

Beyond economic losses, the dark side of counterfeit goods reveals ties to terrorism, child labor, drug and weapons trading, and other criminal activities. Moreover, these fake products pose significant safety hazards, ranging from harmful chemicals in backpacks and shoes to the risk of electronics melting, catching fire, or exploding. The counterfeit trade has left victims with debilitating injuries, and tragically, in some cases, fatalities.

By following the Shop Smart guidelines and supporting initiatives like CBP and the US Chamber of Commerce’s efforts, we contribute to a safer and more secure marketplace.

With a dedicated team of experts who stay updated on the latest policies and programs, Future Forwarding ensures compliance with best practices. Choose Future Forwarding to navigate the complex world of international trade with confidence, safeguarding your business and contributing to a counterfeit-free future.


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