(Fox News) American consumers shopping online this holiday season and year-round face a significant risk of purchasing counterfeit goods – from fake watches and lead-laced toys to phony “goose down” duvets stuffed with duck feathers and supposedly high-end ear buds with the low fidelity of tin cans.
In response to this rising e-commerce threat, President Trump signed a Memorandum on Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods on April 3. He thereby initiated a process to stop the flow of such contraband into the United States.
As one part of this process, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conceived and launched Operation Mega Flex. It mandates the inspection of thousands of additional packages from countries with a high counterfeiting risk, such as Cambodia, China and Singapore.
Operation Mega Flex has taken place at seven international mail facilities and four express consignment hubs and initiated over 25,000 additional inspections. The results do indeed confirm the significant dangers to American consumers…
Annual statistics from CBP regarding seizures at the border provide additional confirmation of the risks facing consumers as they prepare for their online holiday shopping.
In 2018, counterfeit apparel and accessories such as athletic jerseys, designer sunglasses, brand name footwear, watches, jewelry, and handbags accounted for 56 percent of all seizures. Consumer electronics made up an additional 10 percent.
Fake pharmaceuticals and personal care items like cosmetics accounted for a relatively low 7 percent of total seizures. However, many of the products in these categories pose significant dangers to the consumer.
Fake prescription opioids are often laced with deadly fentanyl made in China. The musician Prince reportedly died from fake Vicodin laced with fentanyl. Counterfeit cancer treatments with ingredients from China may have killed as many as 81 cancer patients.