ugg tall Counterfeit items routinely seized at local US border
The men and women working at CBP in western New York have plenty of experience to be able to identify fake merchandise. They’re specially trained to find fraud.
“We’ve seen skin products, like a Clarisonic facial scrub. We’ve seen curling irons. You name it, we’ve seen it,” Draganac said.
HSI says counterfeiting is a big concern at the border. “This is a global problem and it affects the global economy. They look good, but they don’t feel real when you pick them up; in addition, “the beats” barely beat. They don’t have the quality sound the real product is known for.
Officers have seized numerous purses made to look like designer handbags. “The craftsmanship is very poor on them,” Draganac observed.
Agents also showed News 4 cellphone covers that can cause your phone to overheat potentially burning your skin.
Counterfeit cologne could be trouble, too. “You don’t know what’s in it; what chemicals are in it. If you sprayed that stuff on your skin right now, you’d probably get a pretty bad rash,” Draganac said.
A bogus bottle of Biolage shampoo could cause injuries. “That started by somebody from the community returning it to a store, and it happened to have glass in it,” he added.
Agents found fake Viagra for sale by the pill at gas stations in WNY. “Some of the drugs may have the active ingredient it’s supposed to, but it may be too much. In one particular case, that Viagra had very small amounts of the active ingredient,” SAC Spero noted.
Officers at the bridges have even seized toothpaste that contained antifreeze. “So it’s very dangerous, very deadly,” Draganc warned.
CBP allowed News 4 inside its inspection area for trucks. Some shipments are randomly inspected. Others items are targeted for inspection.
“Mainly what they’re looking for is things out of the ordinary; specific routing issues, high risk shipments, things that were counterfeited in the past,” Draganac said.
Officers open boxes, check craftsmanship and even look at labels. Officers need positive proof the goods are real. Officials told News 4 that many seized products comes through South East Asia. WNY is a unique area due to having many transit points; some shipments will try to disguise the point of origin of the product.
CBP works with HSI to target the major smugglers.
Seized items are held while smugglers are prosecuted. “Eventually, after the investigation, if it’s determined to be counterfeit, it will be destroyed. We’ll send it to a contractor and have it officially destroyed,” Draganac confirmed.
Some items are burned. CBP sometimes donates counterfeit clothes to third world countries.
Trust your gut
Carefully check the product, look for signs of inferior quality, even typos on the labels
Sports merchandise should have clean, crisp holograms
Know who you’re doing business with
“A lot of people don’t understand when you purchase these counterfeit goods, you might be unwittingly supporting criminal organizations and terrorists around the globe,” Spero said.