Once viewed by many as a problem limited to purveyors of high-end luxury goods, today counterfeiting has become a multi-billion dollar criminal activity that affects almost every American industry. According to an OECD report on counterfeiting released in April 2016, counterfeit and pirated goods represented up to 2.5% of world trade, or as much as $461 billion.
While criminals see the production and sale of counterfeit goods as a lucrative, low-risk business model, this illicit activity not only harms U.S. businesses but also puts American consumers at front line of severe risk.
Unfortunately, illicit websites offering counterfeit goods identical to the genuine products are also growing exponentially, duping shoppers into buying shoddy and sometimes downright dangerous products. So educate yourself and know how to avoid counterfeits.
Can you spot a fake? Here’s what consumers in Times Square told us:
These dangerous fakes will shock you:
Do you know how many online pharmacies are legitimate and law-abiding?
Dangerous fakes you can’t run from:
Would you be able to tell the difference between real and fake?
World-wide cross border trade in physical counterfeits alone costs the global economy $461 billion a year.
Reports suggest that 96% of online pharmacies do not meet safety or legal standards, so it is especially important to remain vigilant when buying medicine online.
In the United States, the total estimated manufacturer’s retail price of seized goods in FY 2015 increased to $1,352,495,341.
According to CBP, 11 million maritime containers arrive at our seaports. At land borders, another 10 million arrive by truck, and 3 million by rail.
An additional quarter billion in additional cargo arrives in air travel, postal, and express consignment packages.
Of these shipments, our agents seized over $1 billion in counterfeit goods, which unfortunately is estimated to be a small fraction of the counterfeit goods being sent into our country.
Counterfeits have the potential to put our military at risk and jeopardize our national security missions, according to two recent reports by the Department of Commerce and the Government Accountability Office.