Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
By Michael V. Cusenza
U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently launched “The Truth behind Counterfeits” campaign at six airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport, to raise awareness of the dangers and negative impacts of purchasing fraudulent goods.
According to CBP, the Intellectual Property Rights initiative is an educational awareness campaign for international travelers, designed to call attention to the growing impacts of buying counterfeit products, including the loss of American jobs and the support of criminal activity.
Last year, the agency seized more than $1.3 billion in counterfeit goods.
In addition to JFK, the campaign will run through July at six of the busiest U.S. international airports: Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport; Chicago O’Hare International Airport; Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; Los Angeles International Airport; and Washington Dulles International Airport.
“CBP is committed to protecting consumers and enforcing U.S. trade laws, and this campaign will help raise awareness and educate the traveling public about the dangers of purchasing counterfeit goods,” said Brenda Smith, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Trade. “Not only do counterfeits damage the American economy, such goods can threaten the health and safety of consumers.”
According to cbp.gov, the dangers of purchasing spurious products are:
Economic Impacts: Each year, CBP seizes all kinds of counterfeit goods from all over the world. Counterfeiters look to make profits by making fake versions of the hottest products as soon they are available on the market. Each time you buy a counterfeit good, a legitimate company loses revenue. This translates to lost profits and U.S. jobs over time. Know who you buy from.
Health and Safety: Many counterfeit products are low-quality and can cause injuries. Last year, CBP seized more items that pose health and safety risks than ever before. The top three categories were personal care, pharmaceuticals, and consumer electronics. Protect yourself and your family by avoiding potentially risky items.
Legal Implications: It is illegal to purchase counterfeit goods. Bringing them into the country may result in civil or criminal penalties. According to Customs, buying counterfeit goods supports criminal activities such as money laundering and trafficking in illegal guns and drugs.
“America’s economy runs on authentic innovation. Criminals trafficking in illicit trade threaten America’s prosperity and may jeopardize the health and safety of unwitting consumers,” said David Hirschmann, president and CEO, Global Intellectual Property Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud U.S. Customs and Border Protection for recognizing the global scope of counterfeiting and the need to educate consumers on how to protect themselves. We hope this initiative will make travelers more aware of the significant problem and real dangers of counterfeit goods.”