When many think of CBP – Customs and Border Protection – they immediately think of those who enforce our nation’s immigration laws at airports and along our borders.
But with the holidays upon us, it is a perfect time to highlight the fact that a huge amount of the work CBP does is focused on protecting the U.S. economy by facilitating lawful trade, including protecting our borders from dangerous and counterfeit goods.
In this day and age when so many of us complete our holiday shopping from the comfort of our living room couches, it is especially important to be aware of the scams and counterfeit products out there.
Along the U.S.-Canada border, online shopping has even more of a presence: many online retailers will not ship to Canada; so Canadian shoppers will establish U.S. mail boxes where their item can be shipped, typically in border communities where they can easily travel to pick up their item (note: this is not a problem as long as the proper customs declarations are made).
Aside from the obvious frustration that would accompany learning you have wasted your money on a counterfeit product or otherwise fallen victim to an online scam; CBP’s Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske explains the real threat such issues can pose not only to the U.S. economy, but also to the health of end users: “Counterfeit and pirated products threaten our economic security by hurting legitimate businesses who invest significant amounts of resources into protecting their brands. Even worse, these products often pose serious health and safety hazards to the people who buy and use them. Counterfeit electronics can overheat due to improper manufacturing processes, and fake bicycle helmets can break upon impact. Phony cosmetics can lead to skin ailments, and even seasonal holiday lights can be poorly made, resulting in fires.”
Learn more about how to spot these items, and what to do if you think you have received a counterfeit item, at Commissioner Kerlikowske’s blog here: http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/blog/tis-season-protect-yourself-holiday-counterfeiters