U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Jennifer Climenhaga regularly has to keep counterfeit goods from being sold in central Florida.
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“Some of the items we see in high quantity are the purses,” Climenhaga said, “In the past year, we have seen a lot of jewelry and watches.”
CBP officers say just about anything can be counterfeited and most shoppers can't tell the difference.
“These counterfeiters, they do a really good job. They're very good at what they do,” said Climenhaga.
Climenhaga said consumers are getting a 50 to 70 percent discount on counterfeit products, which seems like a great deal but it's often at the expense of the consumers' health. Officers warn there could be anything from led to rat feces in fake makeup.
Nationally officers are cracking down by intercepting shipments from overseas. According to the CBP, In fiscal year 2015, close to 50 percent of the knockoffs in the U.S come from China, and over a billion of dollars worth of fake products have been seized.
Officers believe the availability of items online is contributing to the growing seizures of bogus products.
Climenhaga said counterfeiters would copy images from department store websites, and then post them on their website to portray to consumers that they are selling real products. Consumers would see the pictures and believe they're purchasing a name brand product for a reasonable price, but they're not.
It's an ongoing fight with counterfeiters and officers say the best way of keeping the knockoffs out, is preventing them from coming in.
“Sometimes they feel like they're are getting a great deal. Consumers, I would say buyer beware,” said Climenhaga.
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