LOS ANGELES — Officers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach seized more than 13,000 counterfeit designer items from a recent Chinese cargo shipment, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday, warning holiday shoppers not to get duped.
The shipment seized on Nov. 9 had fake Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton bags, shirts and pants, according to the agency. Had they been genuine, the seized items would have a combined retail price of more than $30 million, CBP said. There were 13,586 products in total.
Retail crime has been front-and-center for California officials in recent weeks. The state has seen a spate of smash-and-grab or “flash mob” thefts at stores, and officials are touting this month’s arrest of an Orange County woman suspected of stealing $300,000 in merchandise from retailers.
After the port seizure, officials warned holiday shoppers about the risks of buying counterfeit goods.
“Bad actors exploit e-commerce operations by selling counterfeit and unsafe goods through online platforms, particularly during the holiday season when shoppers are looking for deals,” said Donald Kusser, Port Director of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport.
Officials said the rise of e-commerce has made it easier to hide behind seemingly legitimate listings on well-known websites.
“The sale of counterfeit commodities multiplies the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers who reinvest the proceeds from such sales into further criminal enterprises,” CBP warned.
Last year, CBP seized 26,503 shipments nationwide containing counterfeit goods, together estimated to be worth nearly $1.3 billion had they been genuine.
The agency offered shoppers these tips to make sure they don’t accidentally buy counterfeit goods:
- Buy the item directly from the trademark holder or from authorized retailers.
- When shopping online, read seller reviews and check for a working U.S. phone number and address that can be used to contact the seller.
- Remember that if the price of a product seems too good to be true, it probably is.
More tips are available on CBP’s E-Commerce Counterfeit Awareness Guide for Consumers.