LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KTLA) – Officials in California seized $1 billion worth of counterfeit products in 2022, marking a new record.
Authorities with the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport hit the historic mark on Sept. 15, with several months still left in the calendar year.
The most popular counterfeit items included apparel, accessories, handbags, wallets, footwear, watches, jewelry, and consumer electronics.
Images released from the bust featured a bounty of fake designer goods including Nike Dunks, Gucci slides, Burberry scarves, handbags from Chanel and Louis Vuitton, and plenty of fake apparel, cologne, wallets and more.
The $1 billion amount reflects the estimated total manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the seized goods if they were genuine.
Authorities say the accessibility of online shopping has made it quite easy to sell counterfeit designer goods.
“Historically, illegal actors have sold counterfeit products on illegitimate websites and in underground outlets,” authorities said. “However, the rise of e-commerce offers a haven for criminals who are now able to hide behind seemingly legitimate listings on well-known websites.”
Concerned about scammers? Always follow the tips below when making big-ticket purchases, online or otherwise:
- Purchase goods directly from authorized retailers.
- When shopping online, read seller reviews and check for a working U.S. phone number and an address that can be used to contact the seller.
- If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Counterfeit items are often inferior quality and may feature poor/uneven stitching, fragile fabrics, and improperly sized or designed logos.
- Peeling labels, low-quality ink or printing errors on the packaging are also signs.
Donald R. Kusser, Port Director of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, said the $1 billion milestone “asserts the exceptional skill, vigilance and keen focus of our trade enforcement teams at our nation’s largest seaport complex.”
“Every day they protect American consumers from the fraudulent traps unscrupulous smugglers place on unsuspecting buyers,” Kusser said.