WASHINGTON, D.C. — As students and educators across America gear up to return to campus, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Amazon are on a mission to educate the public. The lesson? To teach students, parents, teachers, and small businesses about the risks posed by counterfeit goods and how to avoid them with “Five Tips to Shop Smart.”
August is the peak season for school supply shopping, but it’s also an opportunity for scammers to peddle counterfeit, potentially harmful goods. In Fiscal Year 2022, CBP seized nearly 25 million counterfeit goods with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of nearly $3 billion. These fakes include back-to-school staples like electronics, footwear, study supplies, and clothing.
“Fake goods are a real danger to American families, especially for those preparing for the new school year,” said Tom Quaadman, Executive Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center. “Together, business and law enforcement urge everyone to protect themselves with our ‘Five Tips to Shop Smart.’”
Opting for a knock-off backpack or counterfeit phone charger might seem like a budget-friendly choice, but it comes with risks. Fake goods often break down or don't meet safety standards, ultimately doubling the cost for consumers, who pay with their health and their wallet. Despite luring shoppers with promises of low prices, counterfeiters' subpar and potentially dangerous products don't make the grade.
“CBP is committed to maximizing compliance with laws that protect American families from the dangers counterfeit goods pose to their health and well-being,” said Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner for CBP’s Office of Trade, John P. Leonard. “As a father, I don’t want my kids carrying backpacks or lunchboxes with unsafe levels of lead in their zippers. That’s the type of risk we’re talking about here, and the type of risk that CBP is working to mitigate.”
Counterfeits drain more than $500 billion annually from the global economy, posing a serious threat to consumer health and small businesses. That’s why companies and law enforcement are taking to the airwaves and online in an ongoing nationwide public education nationwide to spread the lessons on identifying, avoiding, and reporting fake goods.
“Amazon employs a host of robust systems to stop counterfeit products from ever appearing in Amazon’s store and works closely with law enforcement to hold counterfeiters accountable,” said Kebharu Smith, director of Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit. “At the same time, we also understand the importance of educating consumers about the risks posed by counterfeit goods across the retail industry. Amazon is proud to collaborate with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to arm consumers with information they need to shop confidently online, as we continue to drive towards a common goal of creating a world free of counterfeits.”
For more information about what you can do to shop smart for the back-to-school shopping season, visit www.USChamber.com/shopsmart and CBP’s the truth behind counterfeits webpage. To learn more about Amazon’s progress towards eliminating counterfeits across the retail industry, visit https://brandservices.amazon.com/progressreport.