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Fill me in: Counterfeiters follow the trends – and they love a trick play. Right now, they’re preparing to peddle – or they’re already peddling – counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise. Think T-shirts, jerseys, and hats that aren’t officially licensed, and thus are not affiliated with, or tested by, your favorite team and stars. Higher-value products, like event tickets, signed footballs, and replica Super Bowl rings, are also in the mix.
Why’s this important?
Last year, enforcement officials seized more than 176,000 counterfeit Super Bowl-related sports goods – worth an estimated $123 million. This year, estimates are still higher: With more people shopping online amidst COVID-19, there are more opportunities for counterfeiters to force a fumble.
The consequences are countless. Legitimate businesses lose revenue and market share; their employees lose their jobs. Consumers risk their safety – counterfeit goods are produced outside of regulated channels, so they often contain illegal toxins or pose undisclosed fire hazards. Vulnerable people, even children, are exploited. Many criminal counterfeiting rings fund organized crime, like illicit drugs and weapons, as well as human trafficking and terrorism.
Top 3 numbers to know:
- The global trade in counterfeit goods exceeds $500 billion annually.
- More than 45 million American jobs are tied to intellectual property.
- In the United States, around 65% of consumers are not confident they can tell the difference between fake and real websites.
Who’s doing something about it?
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol enforces more than 400 laws – including anti-counterfeiting laws – for 40 U.S. agencies. More than 2,700 front-line federal officers, and trade and mission support personnel are working around the clock in Florida to identify and intercept counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise.
What they’re saying:
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is working diligently to help secure Super Bowl LV through air and maritime security and tactical operations. BP personnel support extensive Super Bowl security operations each year as part of coordinated efforts for a safe and secure event.” – Vernon T. Foret, Customs and Border Patrol Region IV Lead Field Coordinator
“Counterfeiters don’t care for your health, your family’s health, or anything like that. These items are done in an uncontrolled environment with non-tested chemicals and an unsafe environment.” – Juan Carlos Estevez, Trade Supervisor for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Orlando
“More often than not, that’s in a foreign country and you are supporting a foreign corrupt organization, criminal organizations, and even terrorist organizations, so the money you are going to look to save here you are really sending to a criminal organization and potentially you are supporting terrorism overseas.” – Homeland Security Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Sibley
“It’s the details, you’ve got to look at the fine details and people need to be their own advocate, they need to look at the stitching, they need to look at the quality of the fabric, the colors, the tags, and just take a closer look and you will be able to see the difference between real and fakes.” – Brian Weinhaus, Unit Chief, Homeland Security Investigations
“Disrupting organized crime behind the counterfeit trade is a top priority and requires the business community, the government, and consumers to work closely together. The Chamber’s Shop Safe Campaign looks to help educate and protect shoppers from fake goods.” – Kasie Brill, Vice President, Brand Protection & Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
How you can help: Educate yourself – and your friends and family – on how to #ShopSmart, or how to recognize and avoid counterfeit goods online and everywhere else. Our top ten tips make for a great playbook.
- Shop Smart: Learn more about the U.S. Chamber’s efforts to protect consumers and small businesses from the dangers of counterfeit goods by visiting the Global Innovation Policy Center’s Shop Smart webpage.
- Report unsafe products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission by calling 800-638-2772 or by visiting their website, https://www.saferproducts.gov/.
- If you suspect you have received a fake, counterfeit or substandard product, report it to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at https://www.iprcenter.gov/referral/view or to your local law enforcement.