The Counterfeit Report
Did you know that counterfeiters will produce $1.7 trillion in fake products worldwide this year? The Counterfeit Report received an International Media Award last month for warning the public about the omnipresence of counterfeit goods. The website, which was created by a retired law enforcement officer, alerts consumers about fake products and helps law enforcement investigators spot these goods during investigations.
During the 2017 fiscal year, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized more than $1.2 billion worth of products with intellectual property rights (IPR) violations. The latest seizure statistics are available through the end of FY2016 on the CBP website. Last year, the CBP seized more items that pose health and safety risks than ever before with the top three categories being personal care, pharmaceuticals and consumer electronics.
According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report published earlier this year, federal investigators purchased a total of 47 products from third-party sellers hosted on five major e-commerce websites – Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Sears Marketplace and Newegg. Twenty of the 47 products purchased, which included cosmetics, Yeti travel mugs, phone chargers and Nike shoes were determined to be counterfeit by the companies holding the products’ IPR.
The report also notes that an investigation of 400 counterfeit iPhone adapters found some “posed a risk of lethal electrocution.” Hazardous substances including lead, cyanide, arsenic, mercury, urine and rat droppings were found in counterfeit cosmetics, with many of the seized goods having come from China and Hong Kong. Have you or your loved ones thought about purchasing make-up or iPhone adapters on-line?
When making online purchases, you can search for a product by name, seller, or producer on The Counterfeit Report website to see if the product is counterfeit or produced by a counterfeiter before you buy. Potential scams and product information that has already been identified by manufacturers and government agencies are available on the site. If you suspect a product is counterfeit, please take the time to report it on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection e-Allegations site. Illegal counterfeit practices not only put our people and economy at risk, but also the profits made from these practices support other criminal activities such as money laundering and organized crime.
FEDS provides professional liability insurance for the entire federal law enforcement community. For information on your specific exposures, how professional liability insurance protects, or how the FEDS program differs from other insurance programs, visit us on the web at fedsprotection.com and choose the position or agency that best describes your job and professional responsibilities.
Posted in The Spotlight